S&P 500 returns to a record high after best day in weeks | National News

Currency traders watch their computer monitors

NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stocks burst to their best day in three weeks on Friday, helping Wall Street return to record heights and avoid what could have been a second straight weekly loss.

The S&P 500 added 65.02 points, or 1.7%, to 3,974.54, with a quarter of that rise coming in the last five minutes of trading alone. Some of the biggest gains came from companies whose profits would jump the most if COVID-19 vaccinations and massive U.S. government spending programs juice the economy as much as economists expect. The index locked in a 1.7% gain for the week after losing 0.8% last week.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 453.40 points, or 1.4%, to 33,072.88, and both it and the S&P 500 set all-time highs. The Nasdaq composite climbed 161.05, or 1.2%, to 13,138.72, though it remains 6.8% below its record set last month.

Stock prices have been churning in recent weeks, and momentum has often shifted sharply, sometimes by the hour. Rising expectations for a supercharged economic recovery are supporting many stocks on one hand, while worries about the possibility of higher inflation and rising interest rates are undercutting the market on the other.

This past week, everything from President Joe Biden doubling his goal for COVID-19 vaccinations to a skyscraper-sized ship blocking one of the world’s most important canals sent markets swinging.