The gains helped major averages erase the week's losses as buying
intensified as the day came to a close. The CBOE market volatility
index <.VIX> fell 5.7 percent to 15.71 in a sign of reduced investor
Stocks have been under pressure of late as investors, worried about
high valuations and uncertainty around the world, pulled back from
riskier assets. Before Friday's rally, the S&P 500 had given up more
than 4 percent while the small-cap Russell was down 7 percent over
the past four weeks.
Markets rallied after Russia's Defense Ministry said Friday it had
finished military exercises in southern Russia, which the United
States had criticized as a provocative step amid the Ukraine crisis.
"The market hates uncertainty, and when it doesn't have enough
information about how badly an event could impact the economy, it
tends to take the worst-case scenario and people sell off," said
Malcolm Polley, president and chief investment officer of Stewart
Capital Advisors in Indiana, Pennsylvania.
"With the news of the de-escalating in Russia, and also with the
administration saying exactly what they are doing in Iraq, it's
helped clear up some uncertainty in the market."
Earlier on Friday, the United States carried out air strikes
targeting Islamic State fighters marching on Iraq's Kurdish capital.
The strikes were the first authorized on Iraq since President Barack
Obama pulled American troops out in 2011.
The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> rose 182.52 points, or 1.12
percent, to 16,550.79. The S&P 500 <.SPX> ended up 21.84 points, or
1.14 percent, to 1,931.41. The Nasdaq Composite <.IXIC> added 36.02
points, or 0.83 percent, to 4,370.99.
For the week, the Dow rose 0.4 percent, the S&P 500 gained 0.3
percent, and the Nasdaq rose 0.4 percent.
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Utilities were the day's biggest gainer among S&P sectors, rising 2
percent, followed by a 1.7 percent increase in energy shares.
Shares of defense companies also performed well, with Lockheed
Martin Corp <LMT.N> ending the day up 1.8 percent to $165.80,
Raytheon Co <RTN.N> up 2.4 percent to $91.61 and Northrop Grumman
Corp <NOC.N> up 2.1 percent to $122.86.
U.S.-traded shares of Tekmira Pharmaceuticals Corp <TKMR.O> surged
45.1 percent to $20.70 after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration
cleared the company's experimental Ebola treatment for potential use
in humans. More than 28.4 million shares changed hands, the busiest
day of trading in company history.
About 5.5 billion shares traded on all U.S. platforms, according to
BATS exchange data, compared with the five-day average of 6.5
(Editing by Bernadette Baum, Leslie Adler and Lias Shumaker)
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