Stocks rise, pushing S&P 500 toward 4th weekly gain in a row

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Major indexes are mostly higher in afternoon trading on Wall Street Friday as a tick up in bond yields helped lift bank stocks.

The broad gains in the market were tempered by technology stocks falling, which has typically happened when bond yields move higher. Crude oil prices also slipped and weighed down energy companies.

The S&P 500 was up 0.2% as of 12:54 p.m. Eastern, on track for its fourth weekly gain in a row. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 84 points, or 0.3% to 34,120 and the technology-heavy Nasdaq fell 0.1%.

Bond yields were moving higher after falling earlier in the week. The yield of the 10-year Treasury note rose to 1.57% from 1.53% late Thursday. However bond yields are down from the highs they hit earlier in the month, when the 10-year note traded at a yield of 1.75%.

“There’s sort of a churning with regard to interest rates and in the market itself,” said Tom Martin, senior portfolio manager with Globalt Investments.

The market has seen both high-flying technology stocks and sectors beaten down by the pandemic taking turns leading the way higher over the last few months. That choppiness will likely continue as investors reevaluate their portfolios, Martin said.

Technology stocks were modestly lower. Apple fell 0.5% and Facebook was down 0.8%.

Investors continue to be focused on the global economic recovery. China’s economy expanded at a sizzling annual pace of 18.3% in the first quarter of the year, the government reported Friday. The world’s second-largest economy contracted, as most of the world did, during the first months of the pandemic.

Investors are welcoming a wave of encouraging economic reports showing how hungry Americans are to spend again, how fewer workers are losing their jobs and how much fatter corporate profits are getting. New data on retail sales and jobless claims Thursday reinforced the view that the recovery is accelerating.

The last round of stimulus from the government helped lift retail sales and investors now have to weigh other proposals in Washington, which include investments in infrastructure and potential tax changes.

“Market participants are just trying to figure out, given the stimulus that’s already in the market, how do we handicap these next couple of rounds,” Martin said.

Solid earnings reports gave several companies a boost. Paint and coatings maker PPG Industries jumped 9.3% after handily beating Wall Street’s first-quarter profit and revenue forecasts. Other standouts include J.B. Hunt Transport Services, which rose 1.6% after reporting solid financial results.

The market now heads into the busiest two weeks of the earnings reporting season. Expectations are high for companies to show they are recovering from the pandemic or have roadmaps to show when profits will return. Dozens of companies will report next week, including Coca-Cola, Johnson & Johnson, Verizon Communications, Dow Chemical and American Airlines.