US: Stocks rise for third day in a row

[NEW YORK] US stocks finished higher on Friday, continuing to ride the positive momentum from Wednesday's Federal Reserve meeting as the last full week of trade of 2014 ended.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 26.65 points (0.15 per cent) at 17,804.80.

The broad-based S&P 500 rose 9.42 (0.46 per cent) to 2,070.65, about five points below its record, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index advanced 16.98 (0.36 per cent) to 4,765.38.

Friday's advances were comparatively modest after two days of torrid gains after the Fed kept interest rates low and said it would be "patient" before raising them.

The rally once again underscored the resonance of the buy-the-dip trade, said Michael James, managing director of equity trading at Wedbush Securities. US stocks sank early in the week on concerns about low oil prices and the crashing Russian ruble.

"Investors here and abroad realise the US equity market remains the best option for equity investments and people are willing to put money to work when there are pullbacks," he said.

Dow member Nike fell 2.3 per cent on concerns that the strong dollar was weighing on future product orders in overseas markets. Earnings for the fiscal second quarter rose 22 per cent to US$655 million.

Dow member McDonald's fell 0.4 per cent as the National Labor Relations Board charged the fast-food company with illegally punishing workers for union activities in 13 regions around the US.

Juno Therapeutics, a biotech company developing cancer treatments, shot up 45.8 per cent in its first full day of trade following its initial public offering.

Software company Red Hat vaulted 10.6 per cent higher after reporting that sales for the fiscal 2015 third quarter rose about 15 per cent to US$455.9 million.

Petroleum-linked equities jumped on rising oil prices. Dow members ExxonMobil and Chevron gained 2.7 per cent and 3.6 per cent, respectively, while oil-services company Schlumberger rose 3.9 per cent.

Bond prices rose. The yield on the 10-year US Treasury dipped to 2.18 per cent from 2.20 per cent Thursday, while the 30-year dropped to 2.77 per cent from 2.81 per cent. Bond prices and yields move inversely.



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