Stocks ended substantially higher at the conclusion of Friday’s trading session as Wall Street notched a sixth consecutive week of gains and saw benchmark indices breaking through yet again to new all-time highs.
The Standard & Poor’s 500 index closed at 1,798.18 points for an advance of 0.42 percent, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.54 percent to end at a total of 15,961.70. The NASDAQ rose a slightly more modest 0.33 percent to 3,985.97 points by the closing bell.
On the S&P 500, shares of JC Penney Co. (JCP) bounced another 4 percent after regulatory filings showed that a number of hedge funds have recently taken an interest in the company. The news was interpreted as an indication that the sick man of department store retail may actually be managing to turn the ship around. For more on this and other turnaround stories of 2013, check out the Equities.com Turnaround Stock Portfolio.
Oil “super-major” ExxonMobil (XOM) lead the charge on the Dow, adding 2 percent by the bell, but the more interesting story to come out of major integrated oil & gas on Friday was the performance of Chinese heavyweights PetroChina ($PTR) and Sinopec (SNP) , who lead the industry higher on gains of over 4 percent each.
Other equity news out of China was provided courtesy of the tech sector, where the video-sharing service Youku (YOKU) saw shares end the day 12 percent higher after analyst upgrades throughout the week were reinforced by the release of a strong earnings report.
United Financial Bancorp. (UBNK) lead gainers in the financial sector with a 12.40 percent jump on news that the savings & loan bank would be merging with Connecticut’s RockVille Financial (RCKB) .