Wall Street advances on strong industrial data but posts weekly losses

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NEW YORK (Reuters) – The SP 500 and the Dow Industrials rose on Friday, boosted by strong industrial output numbers, though all three of Wall Street’s major indexes posted losses for the week.

February industrial production jumped 1.1 percent, the largest increase in four months.

Energy .SPNY led the major sectors of the SP 500 with a 1.0 percent gain, as oil prices CLc1 rose 1.7 percent.

“Today, there are not a lot of headlines out of Washington, so the focus is more on the economy,” said Keith Lerner, chief market strategist at SunTrust Advisory Services in Atlanta.

Friday’s gains came at the end of a rocky week dominated by concerns of a U.S. trade war with China and political turmoil, which began with the ouster of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.

Stocks traded in a narrow range, Lerner said, as investors unwound positions in futures and options contracts expiring on Friday, in a phenomenon known as “quadruple-witching.”

The Nasdaq was barely changed at Friday’s market close.

Investors were also looking ahead to next week, when the Federal Reserve is expected to raise benchmark U.S. interest rates. Rate-sensitive sectors, such as utilities and real estate, rose on Friday, but they could perform poorly if rates increase sharply.

“Many portfolio managers are starting to anticipate that eventually, maybe not at this meeting but in future months, that the Fed will become a little bit more hawkish in its behavior,” said Chad Morganlander, portfolio manager at Washington Crossing Advisors in Florham Park, New Jersey.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI rose 72.85 points, or 0.29 percent, to end the week at 24,946.51, the SP 500 .SPX gained 4.68 points, or 0.17 percent, to 2,752.01 and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC added 0.25 point, or 0 percent, to 7,481.99.

For the week, the Dow fell 1.57 percent, the SP lost 1.04 percent, and the Nasdaq dropped 1.27 percent.

Walmart Inc (WMT.N) gained 1.9 percent after the University of Michigan’s preliminary reading of its consumer sentiment index rose more than expected to 102.0.

Adobe Systems Inc (ADBE.O) was up 3.1 percent, hitting an all-time high during the session, after the Photoshop maker topped analysts’ profit and revenue estimates for the seventh straight quarter.

Micron Technology Inc (MU.O) rose 3.0 percent after Baird analysts raised their price target on the stock by $40 to $100. Western Digital Corp (WDC.O) gained 4.1 percent, hitting a three-year high during the session, after Baird upgraded the stock’s rating to “outperform.”

Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a 2.01-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.48-to-1 ratio favored advancers.

The SP 500 posted 25 new 52-week highs and three new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 178 new highs and 50 new lows.

Volume on U.S. exchanges was 9.54 billion shares, compared to the 7.2 billion average over the last 20 trading days.

Additional reporting by Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur and James Dalgleish