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Wall Street rises, but S&P 500 snaps 7-week winning streak


13:30, February 24, 2013

NEW YORK, Feb. 22 (Xinhua) -- U.S. stocks bounced back on Friday after a two-day losing streak, boosted by good earnings from leading U.S. companies and rising business confidence in Germany, but the S&P's 500 snapped a gaining streak for seven weeks.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rallied 119.95 points, or 0.86 percent, to 14,000.57. The S&P 500 surged 13.18 points, or 0.88 percent, to 1,515.60. The Nasdaq Composite Index climbed 30.33 points, or 0.97 percent, to 3,161.82.

Shares of Hewlett-Packard, a Dow component, leapt 12.28 percent to 19.20 U.S. dollars a share, leading the blue-chip index to soar during Friday's trading. The world's top personal computer maker on Thursday posted a net loss of fiscal first quarter profit, but the figure came in better than analysts' estimates.

Shares of the American International Group rallied 3.14 percent to 38.45 dollars, pushing the S&P 500 higher.

The main stock indices were also bolstered by continued improvement in Germany's business sentiment. The Ifo Business Climate Index rose sharply to 107.4 in February from 104.3 in January, marking the fourth straight rise and the biggest monthly gain since July 2010. The figure signaled Europe's largest economy was regaining momentum.

Wall Street retreated in the last two days after the minutes released Wednesday by the Federal Reserve indicated that the central bank may slow down or halt its bond-purchasing even before the jobless rate falls below 6.5 percent.

St. Luis Fed President James Bullard said Friday on CNBC that "the Fed policy is very easy and it's going to stay easy for a long time." He predicted on Thursday that the U.S. jobless rate may drop to 6.5 percent by the mi-2014 and prompt the central bank to raise its benchmark interest rate from near zero.

For the week, the Dow inched up 0.1 percent, and S&P 500 lost 0.3 percent while the Nasdaq fell 0.9 percent.

On other markets, crude prices recovered moderately on the upbeat German data but still posted sharp weekly declines.

Oil prices started to tumble after the release of the Fed's minutes on Wednesday. Reports that Saudi Arabia might raise output in the second quarter also pressured crude prices.

Light, sweet crude for April delivery edged up 29 cents, or 0.31 percent, to settle at 93.13 dollars a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. For this week, it plunged 2.73 dollars, or 2.85 percent.

Brent crude for April delivery also went up 57 cents, or 0.50 percent, to close at 114.10 dollars a barrel, posting a weekly decline of 3.56 dollars, or 3.03 percent.

The U.S. dollar slightly slipped against the euro, strengthened by improved German business sentiment in February. But the greenback traded mixed against major currencies.

In late New York trading, the euro climbed to 1.3179 dollars from 1.3171 dollars of the previous session and the British pound dropped slightly to 1.5241 from 1.5242 dollars.

The dollar slipped to 0.9306 Swiss francs from 0.9317 and went up to 1.0213 Canadian dollars from 1.0195. The dollar bought 93.41 Japanese yen, higher than 93.11 in the previous session.

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