Wall St. closes best '14 week
NEW YORK - The stock market closed out its best week of the year Friday as investors focused on earnings and brushed off another weak economic report.
The Standard & Poor's 500 has wiped out almost all of its losses for the year after a big slump in January, and is now just 10 points below its record close of 1,848, reached Jan. 15. Stocks slumped last month because of concerns about the outlook for growth in China and other emerging markets and worries about the health of the U.S. economy.
The S&P 500 rose 8.80 points, or 0.48 percent, to 1,838.63. For the week, the index rose 2.3 percent.
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 126.80 points, or 0.79 percent, to 16,154.39. The Nasdaq composite rose 3.35 points, or 0.08 percent, to 4,244.03, its highest close since July 2000.
The stock market started lower Friday following news that U.S. factory output fell sharply in January.
The Federal Reserve said factory production plunged 0.8 percent in January, following gains of 0.3 percent in both December and November.
Investors are hopeful that much of the weakness seen in recent economic reports is due in large part to the unusually cold winter weather this year, said Kristina Hooper, US investment strategist at Allianz Global Investors.
Among the day's losers, Weight Watchers plunged $8.48, or 27.7 percent, to $22.10 after reporting a big drop in earnings that was worse than analysts' had been forecasting. The company also issued a weak earnings forecast, saying 2014 would be a "very challenging year."
In government bond trading, the yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 2.75 percent from 2.73 percent Thursday.
U.S. financial markets will be closed Monday for Presidents' Day.