Wall Street capped a week of milestones Friday with a rally that pushed the major stock indexes to all-time highs for the second day in a row.
Small-company stocks did better than larger ones, nudging the Russell 2000 index to a record high for the first time since December.
Miners and other raw materials companies led the gainers. Rising crude oil prices also gave energy companies a big boost. Consumer goods stocks were essentially flat.
Strong company earnings and investor optimism over the Trump administration’s promises of tax cuts, less government regulation and other policies helped fuel the market’s gains much of the week. News that OPEC is largely adhering to a recent pact to cut crude oil production has also helped lift markets. The daily market moves have been mostly small, but big enough to push indexes to new heights.
“We had a drought for a very, very long time last year where we went almost a year and a half without hitting a new high, which was the longest time ever,” said Randy Frederick, vice president of trading & derivatives at Charles Schwab. “Now we’re back to what I would say is more of a typical move, where you get record highs consistently.”
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 96.97 points, or 0.5 percent, to 20,269.37. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index gained 8.23 points, or 0.4 percent, to 2,316.10. The Nasdaq composite index added 18.95 points, or 0.3 percent, to 5,734.13. All told, the Nasdaq closed at a record high four times this week, as well as last Friday.
The Russell 2000 picked up 10.32 points, or 0.8 percent, to 1,388.84.
Trading got off to a good start early Friday, as investors sized up the latest batch of company earnings. Some 70 percent of the companies in the S&P 500 have reported quarterly results as of Friday. About 40 percent of those turned in earnings and revenue that beat Wall Street’s forecasts, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence.
Earnings are on track to mark the second-consecutive quarter of growth after a five-quarter losing streak.
Beyond earnings, investors are also eying Washington D.C. for signs the Trump administration will deliver on the promised business-friendly policy proposals that helped drive a market rally last fall, including slashing government regulations and taxes.
“The market has been pretty generous ever since the election in moving in anticipation of what might come,” Frederick said. “The question is at what point does the market expect to see things actually happen versus just promises of action. That’s the tricky part.”
Investors bid up shares in companies that turned in better earnings or outlooks than Wall Street was expecting, including footwear company Skechers, video game publisher Activision Blizzard and real estate investment company CBRE Group.
Skechers gained $4.50, or 19.3 percent, to $27.78, while CBRE Group climbed $2.43, or 7.7 percent, to $34. Activision Blizzard was the biggest gainer in the S&P 500. The maker of “Call of Duty,” ”Candy Crush” and other video games jumped $7.50, or 18.9 percent, to $47.23.
Other companies’ quarterly report cards failed to impress traders.
Yelp skidded 13.6 percent after the online reviews company’s revenue forecasts disappointed Wall Street. The stock slid $5.66 to $35.83.
Cerner slumped 4.4 percent after the health care information technology company lowered its earnings and revenue guidance for the year. The stock was the biggest decliner in the S&P 500. It fell $2.38 to $51.50.
Soaring copper prices gave gold and copper miner Freeport-McMoRan a lift. It rose 41 cents, or 2.7 percent, to $15.80.
Investors also welcomed Sears’ huge cost-savings initiative. The troubled department store chain said Friday that it will slash at least $1 billion a year in costs by selling stores, cutting jobs or selling some of its well-known brands. The stock leaped $1.42, or 25.6 percent, to $6.96.
In deal news, Mead Johnson Nutrition Co. rose 5.6 percent after the baby formula maker agreed to be bought by British household products company Reckitt Benckiser for $90 a share, or $16.6 billion. Mead Johnson shares climbed $4.67 to $87.72.
Benchmark U.S. crude rose 86 cents, or 1.6 percent, to close at $53.86 a barrel in New York. The contract rose 66 cents on Thursday. Brent crude, the benchmark for international oil prices, gained $1.07, or 1.9 percent, to close at $56.70 a barrel in London. Natural gas futures declined 11 cents, or 3.4 percent, to $3.03 per 1,000 cubic feet.
Major stock indexes in Europe closed mostly higher.
Britain’s FTSE 100 added 0.4 percent, while Germany’s DAX rose 0.2 percent. France’s CAC 40 was flat. Greece’s stock market gained 2.5 percent as its creditors met to find a way to ease concerns about the future of its bailout program.
In Asia, investors welcomed strong January trade data from China. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng rose 0.2 percent, while South Korea’s Kospi added 0.5 percent. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 jumped 1 percent. Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 index surged 2.5 percent as the yen weakened against the dollar, lifting shares of exporters.
Bond prices fell. The 10-year Treasury yield rose to 2.41 percent from 2.40 percent late Thursday.
The dollar strengthened to 113.41 yen, up from 113.33 yen on Thursday. The euro weakened to $1.0631 from $1.0658.
In other energy futures trading, wholesale gasoline added 2 cents to $1.59 a gallon, while heating oil rose 2 cents to $1.67 a gallon.
Among metals, the price of gold fell 70 cents to $1,234.40 an ounce. Silver rose 19 cents to $17.93 an ounce. Copper added 11 cents, or 4.3 percent, to $2.77 a pound.
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — A judge approved a $16 million settlement with the final defendant in the 38 Studios case Friday, ending the lawsuit over Rhode Island’s failed $75 million deal with former Boston Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling’s video game company.
Superior Court Judge Michael Silverstein approved the settlement after hearing from lawyers for both sides: the state’s economic development agency and Dallas-based Hilltop Securities Inc. Hilltop was formerly the First Southwest Co., the state’s financial adviser on the deal, and agreed to pay $16 million to get out of the case.
The total settlements in the case end up at about $61 million. A number of other parties previously settled, including Schilling and other 38 Studios executives, lawyers and companies that worked on the deal, and officials at the economic development agency.
“It was easy to get started, not so easy to get finished,” Max Wistow, who represented the Commerce Corporation, the state’s economic development agency, said of the 2012 lawsuit. “We feel like it was worthwhile.”
38 Studios moved from Massachusetts to Rhode Island in 2010 in exchange for a $75 million loan guarantee, and then went bankrupt.
Last September, Schilling and others agreed to a $2.5 million settlement to end their part of a lawsuit. Neither he nor the other company officials admitted liability in the settlement, which 38 Studios’ insurance company would pay.
Schilling has said his company failed because it didn’t raise enough money, not because he did anything malicious or illegal. He also has faulted Rhode Island politicians for giving him a loan guarantee in the first place.
Democratic Gov. Gina Raimondo announced Friday she’ll file a petition in court to seek the release of documents from the state grand jury investigation into the deal that never resulted in any criminal charges.
“Now that the civil case and criminal case is closed, we should make all the documents available to the public and give the people of our state closure,” Raimondo said in a statement.
Rhode Island Attorney General Peter Kilmartin, also a Democrat, has voiced concerns about releasing investigative records from the case. Raimondo says Rhode Island residents have a right to know what happened.
Rhode Island State Police Col. Ann Assumpico has directed her agency to review and release the non-grand jury documents in their possession, Raimondo said Friday.
Still pending is a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission lawsuit against Wells Fargo and the economic development agency, accusing them of making misleading statements about bonds used to fund the deal.
The SEC and the economic development agency have entered into a tentative settlement agreement, but they are still awaiting approval from the SEC, Wistow said. He said they’re hoping to get that “momentarily.” The terms of the tentative agreement haven’t been released.
PARIS (AP) — French presidential hopeful Emmanuel Macron on Friday urged researchers, entrepreneurs and engineers working on climate change in the U.S. to leave for France — a bid to capitalize on the doubt expressed by U.S. President Donald Trump about global warming.
In a video posted on his Twitter account, Macron said in English: “I do know how your new president now has decided to jeopardize your budget, your initiatives — as he’s extremely skeptical about climate change.”
Trump has voiced skepticism that global warming is man-made and has suggested taking the U.S. out of the global Paris Agreement on fighting climate change.
In the appeal, the centrist, pro-business Macron vowed to boost public and private investment in sectors linked to climate change in France. He evoked the landmark COP21 agreement that got signatory nations to agree to curb greenhouse gas emissions.
The 39-year-old told U.S. scientists to “please come to France, you are welcome … we want people working on climate change, energy, renewables and new technologies.”
Macron is among the top candidates in France’s presidential election, alongside Marine Le Pen, 48, the far-right National Front’s leader. The first ballot will take place on April 23 and the two top candidates from that go into the presidential runoff on May 7.
Conservative Francois Fillon, 62, once the favorite to capture the Elysee Palace, has seen his popularity sink in recent weeks following an national embezzlement probe into paid — but allegedly fake — political jobs that he gave to his wife and two children. Despite the controversy, Fillon is heading to the French overseas territory of Reunion, in the Indian Ocean, on Saturday to show that his campaign is continuing as normal.
Other candidates in France’s presidential election include the Socialist Benoit Hamon, 49, and the leftist Jean-Luc Melenchon, 65. The current president, Socialist Francois Hollande, is so unpopular that he decided not to seek re-election.
HONG KONG (AP) — Hong Kong authorities have arrested a man for arson after a fire broke out in a subway car during rush hour Friday in a busy tourist district, injuring 18 people, two of them critically.
Police said there was no evidence to indicate the fire was a terror attack. Police District Commander Kwok Pak-chung said the 60-year-old man told rescuers as he was being taken to a hospital that he was the one who set the fire, and that he had done so for an unspecified personal reason.
“He was incoherent,” Kwok said, adding that police believe he used a flammable liquid.
Videos circulating on social media showed a chaotic scene of a fire inside the subway car and a man lying on the platform as people frantically used clothing to try to put out flames on his pants.
In addition to the two in critical condition, six others were in serious condition, and 10 were stable, police said. The injured included seven males and 11 females, but the information provided by the government did not indicate whether it included the suspect.
Hundreds of police and firefighters responded at 7:14 p.m. to the fire, which shut down the busy Tsim Sha Tsui station in downtown Kowloon.
Such incidents are rare in Hong Kong, a wealthy Asian financial center that has a reputation for being safe and has relatively little violent crime.
MINEOLA, N.Y. (AP) — New York’s highest court has upheld the conviction of the former deputy commissioner of the Nassau County Police Department.
William Flanagan was convicted in 2013 on official misconduct and conspiracy charges following a scandal linked to a high school burglary. Prosecutors said Flanagan pulled strings to help the son of a wealthy department benefactor accused of stealing $11,000 worth of equipment from his high school.
Despite video evidence, an eyewitness and the principal’s urging that he be arrested, police never charged the student. Prosecutors argued his father was as a longtime benefactor of the police department.
Flanagan was sentenced to 60 days in jail. His attorney tells Newsday (http://nwsdy.li/2kQhkaL ) she will seek to re-argue the appeal. The court ruled Thursday.
Two other police officials also were convicted in the case.
Information from: Newsday, http://www.newsday.com
CINCINNATI (AP) — Bengals player Adam “Pacman” Jones is getting more time to work on personal issues before anything happens with the latest criminal case against him.
Hamilton County court records show the date for possible grand jury action has been delayed from Friday until March 23. Jones has been getting treatment for alcohol and anger issues. His attorney has said he is getting professional help in the Cincinnati area.
“He is being treated like anyone else,” said Prosecutor Joe Deters, whose delay in proceeding in the case has drawn some local criticism. “He is in treatment and the Hamilton County Prosecutor’s office is awaiting those reports before deciding how this case will be resolved.”
Deters said in a statement that he expects the reports to be ready for review next month.
The 33-year-old cornerback was arrested Jan. 3 on charges of assault, disorderly conduct and obstructing official business after an altercation with a hotel security employee. He subsequently was charged with spitting on a jail nurse. An attorney for the nurse told The Cincinnati Enquirer she is “very upset” about the way the case is being handled.
A Cincinnati police video released last month showed Jones in the back of a police vehicle repeatedly using profanity toward the officers and telling one: “I hope you die tomorrow.” He apologized through his attorneys and the Bengals also apologized for his behavior.
Jones had said after coming out of jail Jan. 4 that he shouldn’t have been arrested and expected to have the charges dropped.
Deters has said he’d like to know what NFL discipline Jones faces, noting that a suspension would cost Jones millions of dollars.
The NFL has said it’s reviewing the matter under its personal conduct policy. The league could discipline Jones regardless of the outcome of the criminal charges.
Arrests and suspensions nearly ended Jones’ NFL career before the Bengals signed him in 2010 and he became a starting defensive back and kick returner.
He was suspended for the 2007 season as a member of the Tennessee Titans after a violent Las Vegas strip club melee, and was suspended for six games in 2008 when he was with the Dallas Cowboys over an alcohol-related altercation. He didn’t play in the NFL in 2009.
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