Stocks flourished at the beginning o f earnings season, lifting sentiment as banks reported better-than-expected results, allowing the S&P 500 to reach its best performance in six months, and only 30 points short of its 52-week high.
Shares of JPMorgan surged 5% after the lender reported first-quarter results above expectations, with Chief Executive Jamie Dimon saying that the US economy is growing even with some global uncertainty.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average was also a few hundred points from its 52-week high, lifted by Disney ( DIS ), which climbed 11% to a record high after unveiling its streaming service. The Nasdaq Composite Index also advanced 0.5%, its highest in six months.
The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq both posted gains this week, but the Dow Jones ended 13 points lower compared to last week, even with strong performances from Disney and Dow ( DOW ).
In economic data news, import and export prices both surpassed analysts' expectations in March, with import costs pushed higher by fuel prices and export rates posting a year-on-year advance, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Prices for US imports was up 0.6% in March, behind the revised 1% increase in February but ahead of the 0.4% consensus on Econoday. Export rates rose 0.7%, in line with the previous month's rate and beating 0.3% estimates.
Meanwhile, the University of Michigan Index of Consumer Sentiment dropped to 96.9 in April compared with 98.4 in March and 98.8 in the prior year, according to data released Friday. Analysts expected 98, according to a poll by Bloomberg. Despite the slight decline, the level of the sentiment index during the past 30 months was higher than any other time since 1997 to 2000, the final phase of the record 10-year expansion, according to the university.
The long-awaited trade settlement between US and China has yet to materialize, despite the two sides agreeing earlier this week to establish enforcement offices to monitor the implementation of a deal ending the dispute.
Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 269.25 points (+1.03%) to 26,412.30
S&P 500 was up 19.09 points (+0.66%) to 2,907.41
Nasdaq Composite Index was up 36.80 points (+0.46%) to 7,984.16
FTSE 100 was up 19.11 points (+0.26%) to 7,437.06
Hang Seng Index was up 70.31 points (+0.24%) to 29,909.76
Shanghai China Composite Index was down 1.34 points (-0.04%) to 3,188.63
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