Stocks rise, set for strong weekly gains on rally in energy shares

U.S. equities rose slightly on Friday, as Wall Street looked to book a week of solid gains led by energy stocks.

The Dow Jones industrial average gained 75 points, with Verizon as the best-performing stock in the index. The S&P 500 traded 0.2 percent higher, with telecommunications outperforming. The Nasdaq composite hovered around the flatline.

For the week, the major indexes are all up at least 2 percent.

Energy stocks were up 3.8 percent for the week entering Friday’s session, the most of all 11 S&P 500 sectors. The sector received a boost from surging oil prices, which jumped after President Donald Trump pulled the United States out of the Iran nuclear deal.

“Energy is going to lead the market,” said Marc Chaikin, CEO of Chaikin Analytics. “I don’t think the current price of oil is pricing in the full ramifications of the Iran deal.”

Spencer Platt | Getty Images News | Getty Images

Back in 2015, the Obama administration and Iran signed a deal to defer sanctions on Iranian oil exports, while Iran curbed its nuclear program. On Tuesday, Trump said the U.S. was pulling out of that deal and restoring sanctions.

Crude began the week trading around $69.80 per barrel. Oil traded at $71.22, up 2.4 percent for the week.

Technology shares also contributed to the index’s weekly gains, rising 3.7 percent. Leading the S&P 500’s biggest sector by market cap were Facebook and Google-parent Alphabet, which climbed more than 5 percent.

Equities also broke out of a tight trading range. The S&P 500 and Dow closed above their 50-day moving averages this week. The 50-day moving average is a key technical level watched by technical analysts and strategists.

“Tough just yet to think the market is completely out of the woods, but it’s been right to be bullish and until trends reverse …, this will still be the case,” said Mark Newton, managing member at Newton Advisors. “We’ve seen constructive trend breakouts in the SPX and in [Dow] yesterday, while Nasdaq got over April highs and seems to have a bit more to go higher.”

In corporate news, chipmaker Nvidia reported better-than-expected earnings and revenue, while giving upbeat guidance. The stock fell 1 percent, however.

Verizon shares jumped more than 3 percent after analysts at J.P. Morgan upgraded the telecom giant, noting that its heft dividend and 5G network plans will be a boost.

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