Dow, S&P Log Best Weekly Gains Since Dec.
Stocks finished flat in a lackluster session Friday, but the major averages posted impressive weekly gains, with the Dow and S&P logging their best gains for the week since last December.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average erased 20.14 points, or 0.15 percent, to close at 13,232.62, snapping a seven-day winning streak.
United Tech and Microsoft led the Dow laggards. Meanwhile, BofA soared, almost doubling its most recent multi-year low.
The S&P 500 eked out a gain of 1.57 points, or 0.11 percent, to end at 1,404.17. The Nasdaq slipped 1.11 points, or 0.04 percent to finish at 3,055.26. Still, the two major averages closed above their 1,400 and 3,000 milestones.
The CBOE Volatility Index, widely considered the best gauge of fear in the market, tumbled below 15. The Vix briefly plunged to a 5-year low of 13.76 before recovering.
For the week, the Dow jumped 2.40 percent, the S&P rallied 2.43 percent, while the Nasdaq soared 2.24 percent. All Dow components logged a gain for the week, led by BofA and JPMorgan.
Nine out of the 10 key S&P sectors ended higher for the week, led by financials. Utilities sagged.
"This is moderate volume for an expiration day—we've had the four of the largest record volume days on quadruple witching and this is nowhere near it," said Art Cashin, director of floor operations at UBS Financial Services. "It looks like everyone's taking a rest here."
Apple ended flat as the company's new iPad went on sale today. The tech giant stock price hit $600 in intraday trading for the first time the previous session. UBS raised its price target on the firm to $675 from $550, while Oppenheimer boosted its price target to $700 from $570.
However, some analysts believe the love for Apple's stock may be a bit too much and worry that the stock price could deflate, affecting the broader market.
United Technologies said it is looking to sell three of its small units to raise about $3 billion in cash to help fund its acquisition of Goodrich.
Meanwhile, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley were largely unchanged after Deutsche Bank cut its price target on the firms to $145 from $160, and to $22 from $28, respectively.
UPS said it is in talks again to acquire Dutch rival TNT Express. Last month, UPS proposed a $6.4 billion deal to buy the package delivery company.
Meanwhile, Research In Motion surged almost 7 percent amid rumors Samsung may be interested in a minority investment in the BlackBerry maker. In addition, the company announced it is on track to announce next Thursday, giving analysts some relief that the firm is not likely to report a negative guidance before then.
Homebuilders including DR Horton , Lennar and Pulte slumped after a big rally in the last few sessions.
On the economic front, consumer sentiment slipped in early Marchto 74.3 from 75.3 in February, according to the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan's preliminary reading on the overall index.
Meanwhile, consumer price index increased 0.4 percent in February as gasoline prices jumped, according to the Labor Department. Excluding the food and energy category, core CPI edged up 0.1 percent.
Industrial production was unchanged in February, snapping a three-month gain, according to the Federal Reserve, amid a drop in mining output. Meanwhile, capacity utilization, edged down to 78.7 percent.
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On Tap Next Week:
MONDAY: Fed's Fisher speaks, Fed's Dudley speaks, housing market index; Earnings from Adobe Systems
TUESDAY: Housing starts, Bernanke speaks, Fed's Kocherlakota speaks; Earnings from Tiffany, Oracle
WEDNESDAY: Weekly mortgage apps, existing home sale, oil inventories, HP annual mtg, Starbucks annual mtg; Earnings from General Mills, Discover Financial
THURSDAY: Jobless claims, FHFA home price index, leading indicators, Green Mountain Coffee shareholders mtg; Earnings from FedEx, Dollar General, Gamestop, Lululemon, Nike, Accenture
FRIDAY: New home sales, Fed's Lockhart speaks, Fed's Bullard speaks; Earnings from Darden Restaurants
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