The major averages ended the week on an upbeat note with the S&P 500 adding 0.5%. The benchmark index extended its weekly advance to 1.7% while the Nasdaq Composite (+0.4%) underperformed today, but still gained 2.2% for the week, ending ahead of the benchmark index.
Equity indices climbed through the first two hours of today's session and inched to fresh highs during late afternoon action. Nine sectors ended in the green while the financial sector closed on its flat line. Interestingly, the influential sector underperformed throughout the week, adding just 0.1%.
Unlike financials, six sectors registered weekly gains of at least 1.0% with the industrial space (+1.8%) climbing 3.3% for the week. Fittingly, the growth-sensitive group spent today's session in the lead, which was mainly due to a 10.8% surge in the shares of General Electric (GE 28.51, +2.78). The Dow component soared after announcing restructuring plans, including the sale of GE Capital real estate assets for about $25.60 billion. In addition, the company authorized a new buyback program of up to $50 billion.
General Electric drove the industrial sector higher while transport stocks also pulled their weight. The Dow Jones Transportation Average gained 0.7% for the day and climbed 1.9% during the week, but the complex remains lower by 4.1% since the end of 2014.
The industrial sector was the only group that added more than 0.9% while most of the remaining cyclical sectors settled behind the broader market. The top-weighted technology sector (+0.4%) was among the early laggards, but was able to finish just behind the broader market. The sector narrowed the gap during afternoon action as Apple (AAPL 127.10, +0.54) erased its early loss brought on by a Raymond James downgrade to 'Market Perform' from 'Outperform.'
Moving to the countercyclical side, health care (+0.9%) and utilities (+0.8%) outperformed with the health care sector receiving support from biotechnology. The iShares Nasdaq Biotechnology ETF (IBB 357.44, +4.38) jumped 1.2%, extending its weekly gain to 5.2%.
Treasuries notched their highs right around 9:30 ET and spent the day in a retreat from their highs. The 10-yr note eked out a slim gain, lowering the benchmark yield by a basis point to 1.95%.
Today's participation was relatively light with fewer than 700 million shares changing hands at the NYSE floor.
Economic data was limited to import/export prices:
Export prices, excluding agriculture, increased 0.2% in March after increasing 0.1% in the prior reading
Excluding oil, import prices fell 0.4%, which followed last month's 0.3% decline
Monday's data will be limited to the 14:00 ET release of the Treasury Budget for March.
Nasdaq Composite +5.5% YTD
Russell 2000 +5.0% YTD
S&P 500 +2.1% YTD
Dow Jones Industrial Average +1.3% YTD
Week in Review: S&P 500 Bounces Off 50-Day Moving Average
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