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Stocks: S&P 500 Best Week Since July   10/15 16:09

   Wall Street added to its recent gains Friday as stocks closed higher, 
driving the S&P 500 to its best week since July.

   (AP) -- Wall Street added to its recent gains Friday as stocks closed 
higher, driving the S&P 500 to its best week since July.

   The S&P 500 rose 0.7% for its third straight gain and ended the week 1.8% 
higher. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 1.1% and the Nasdaq composite 
gained 0.5%.

   The latest rally came as investors welcomed encouraging quarterly report 
cards from several companies. Leading the way for the S&P 500 was freight 
deliverer J.B. Hunt Transport Services, which jumped 8.7% after reporting 
stronger profits for the summer than Wall Street expected. Goldman Sachs rose 
3.8% and Alcoa surged 15.2% after it beat earnings expectations and announced a 
dividend payment and buyback of its stock.

   The positive company earnings dovetailed with a report showing people spent 
much more at U.S. retailers last month than Wall Street expected. Sales at 
stores, restaurants and other retail establishments rose 0.7% from August 
instead of falling, as economists forecast.

   "We saw retail sales this morning come in pretty strong," said Sameer 
Samana, senior global market strategist at Wells Fargo Investment Institute. 
"(Stocks) are still at pretty reasonable valuations with another earnings 
season having just ticked on, and thus far at least, some pretty good results."

   The S&P 500 rose 33.11 points to 4,471.37. The Dow gained 382.20 points to 
35,294.76, and the Nasdaq rose 73.91 points to 14,897.34.

   Friday's gain follows up on a 1.7% jump for the S&P 500 Thursday, its best 
day since March, which was driven by stronger-than-expected earnings reports 
and encouraging data on the job market.

   It's a turnaround from a shaky few weeks, when the benchmark index fell as 
much as 5.2% from its record set on Sept. 2. Worries about stubbornly high 
inflation, reduced support for markets from the Federal Reserve and a slowing 
economy helped to knock stock prices around. The S&P 500 is back within 1.5% of 
its all-time high.

   Earnings reporting season has just begun, but early indicators are 
encouraging. All but one of the 19 companies in the S&P 500 that reported 
quarterly results this week topped analysts' profit forecasts. Such strength is 
crucial after climbing interest rates heightened worries that stock prices had 
grown too expensive relative to profits.

   The stronger-than-expected reports on the economy also help calm chatter 
about "stagflation," which is the feared marriage of a stagnating economy and 
high inflation.

   Of course, all is not clear yet. A report on Friday showing consumer 
sentiment was weaker than expected amid inflation worries helped limit the 
market's gains.

   Still, stocks of companies whose profits are most closely tied to the 
strength of the economy, including retailers, automakers and travel-related 
businesses, led the way higher Friday. Amazon rose 3.3%, Tesla added 3% and 
Marriott International gained 3.1%.

   Other than financial companies, which benefited from the 
better-than-expected profit reports from several big-name banks, industrial and 
health care businesses were also among the strongest gainers. Caterpillar rose 
2.4%, while UnitedHealth added 1.8%.

   Johnson & Johnson gained 0.7% after a Food and Drug Administration panel 
endorsed booster doses of the company's single-shot COVID-19 vaccine. The panel 
said Friday that the booster should be offered at least two months after 
immunization but didn't suggest a firm time.

   Treasury yields also rose following the much stronger-than-expected report 
on retail sales. The yield on the 10-year note climbed to 1.57% from 1.52% late 
Thursday.

   "The biggest surprise on rates continues to be how low they are relative to 
all the anecdotal evidence and all the data about inflation that we see," 
Samana said.

   Higher Treasury yields in recent weeks have been holding back technology and 
other high-growth stocks recently. When bonds are paying more in interest, 
investors aren't as willing to wait as long a time for big profit growth 
expectations to come to fruition or to pay as high prices for them.

   Tech stocks in the S&P 500 fared a little better Friday, matching the 
broader market with a 0.8% gain, while the communication-services sector that 
includes many internet companies slipped 0.1%.

   Stock markets overseas also notched gains. In Europe, Germany's DAX returned 
0.8%, and France's CAC 40 gained 0.6%. The FTSE 100 in London rose 0.4%.

   In Asia, Tokyo's Nikkei 225 added 1.8%, Hong Kong's Hang Seng climbed 1.5% 
and Seoul's Kospi advanced 0.9%.

   The price of benchmark U.S. oil rose 1.2% to $82.28 per barrel, continuing a 
powerful run that has sent it up more than 70% this year and fanned worries 
about high inflation. The global benchmark for crude climbed 1%, though the 
price of U.S. natural gas fell 4.9%.

    

 
 
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