Wall Street was heading toward the weekend on a good note, with stocks closing higher by Friday’s closing bell.
Retail sales figures were the main economic data point of the day, and while the 0.2 percent increase from July to August was positive, it was still short of the 0.5 percent that had been the average of economists’ expectations.
The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index closed 0.27 percent higher at 1,687.99 points, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average clocked its second-best week of the year on a gain of 0.49 percent to 15,376.06 points. The NASDAQ finished off 0.17 percent higher at 3,722.18.
The healthcare sector lifted the S&P 500 higher, with a number of companies making significant advances on heavy trading. ViroPharma Inc. (VPHM) jumped on news of two buyout proposals, ending the day 26 percent higher, while Cell Therapeutics Inc. (CTIC) rose 21 percent, with EnteroMedics (ETRM) and Arena Pharmaceuticals (ARNA) in tow.
Apple Inc. (AAPL) continued to be a ball and chain for the NASDAQ, shedding about 1.5 percent on the day as investors continue to be unconvinced by the company’s recently unveiled effort to commoditize the iPhone 5 for emerging markets. Other techs provided a counterweight, however, with Intel (INTC) , Microsoft (MSFT) , and Himax Technologies (HIMX) all advancing on high volume.
On the Dow, Alcoa Inc. ($AA) was the index’s worst performer ahead of its departure from the benchmark list, while Walt Disney Co. (DIS) , E.I. du Pont de Nemours (DD) and Boeing Co. (BA) ended the day higher.
The late Thursday announcement that the massively popular social media site Twitter had filed for its IPO had investor and pundit alike buzzing with excitement, as more details about the offering are anticipated in the coming days.