US stocks close week higher as rate hike fears abate

New York - Technology and petroleum-linked shares were among the standouts Friday as US stocks rose solidly to finish a choppy week on a positive note.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 1.4% to close the week at 25 309.99.

The broad-based S&P 500 advanced 1.6% to 2 747.30, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index jumped 1.8% to 7 337.39.

Worries about US interest rates have hovered over the market since the strong February 2 jobs report raised the prospect that the Federal Reserve could accelerate its pace of rate increases.

But the yield on the 10-year US Treasury bond, seen as a proxy for interest rates, pulled back Friday. That helped produce what was by the far the market's best trading day of the week.

And in its semi-annual report to Congress, the Fed appeared to tamp down concerns that higher wages would boost inflation.

"Investors are in a good mood ... and the Fed's report seemed to indicate that we may not need as many rate hikes as they once thought," Gorilla Trades strategist Ken Berman said in a note.

Large technology shares were strong, with Apple winning 1.7%, Microsoft rising 2.5%, Facebook 2.4% and Intel 4.2%.

Petroleum-linked shares were another strong performer as Dow members ExxonMobil and Chevron gained more than two percent.

Natural pet food company Blue Buffalo Pet Products soared 17.2% after agreeing to be acquired by General Mills for $8bn. General Mills dropped 3.6%.

Nordstrom surged 6.5% following a report that it is close to a transaction to take the company private.

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