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MARKET SNAPSHOT: Stock Market Climbs A Second Day, But Still On Track For Weekly Losses

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05/19/2017 | 05:06pm CEST

By Barbara Kollmeyer and Anora Mahmudova, MarketWatch

Deere, Applied Materials, Ross Stores shares on the move

U.S. stocks on Friday bounded into the green for a second straight session, aided by an abeyance in White House drama, but the main equity benchmarks were still facing losses in a week marked by the reemergence of volatility.

The S&P 500 index added 17 points, or 0.7%, to 2,383, with 10 of its 11 main sectors trading higher. Materials, energy and industrials sectors were leading the gains, up more than 1%. Utilities were the only sector trading in the red.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 122 points, or 0.6%, to 20,784. Caterpillar Inc. (>> Caterpillar Inc.) and DuPont & Co. (>> E I Du Pont De Nemours And Co) were leading the gains, up nearly 2%.

The Nasdaq Composite Index surged 42 points, or 0.7%, at 6,097.

For the week, however, all three indexes are looking at losses of about 0.4%, shaving steeper losses after Wednesday's sharp downdraft.

"Over the past two days the news cycle went from the intense inferno-type fire to just regular fire, allowing markets to calm down," said Tom Siomades, head of the Investment Consulting Group of Hartford Funds.

Markets were rattled earlier this week, with investors caught off guard by the sharp selloff on Wednesday after a report President Donald Trump in February asked then-Federal Bureau of Investigation Director James Comey to stop an investigation into Russian interference into the U.S. election. Some investors have questioned whether Trump will even finish his term.

Investors have increasingly questioned whether President Trump can deliver on his economic stimulus promises amid investigations.

Opinion:Market sentiment during Watergate shows how stocks might react to Trump

"This week political risk has caught up on the market but it's still unclear whether it has any legs," wrote Deutsche Bank strategist Jim Reid and research analyst Craig Nicol in a note to clients Friday.

"Whether this latest Trump bout of volatility lasts depends on what Mr. Comey really has on the president, but there wasn't much new news to report on the story yesterday which helped U.S. equities to recover," said the Deutsche Bank team.

Observers said investors will be closely watching potential developments on the controversy next week. Lawmakers have asked the FBI to turn over the notes Comey said he made from his meetings with Trump by next week, and a congressional hearing on the matter is due to take place, at which the former FBI head has been asked to testify.

Economic data and Fed speakers: Once again, there are no data points to distract investors from the political roller coaster.

St. Louis Fed President James Bullard questioned the need for a June rate hike, citing a slowdown in the U.S. economy during the first half of the year. Bullard is not a voting member of the Fed policy committee this year.

Moving stocks: Deere shares (>> Deere & Company) jumped 7% after earnings and sales beat Wall Street forecasts . Earnings from Campbell Soup Co.(>> Campbell Soup Company) were below expectations, sending shares sharply lower.

Shares of Autodesk Inc.(>> Autodesk, Inc.) jumped 12% as the company said its shift to a subscription-based software model was going well.

Dynegy Inc. shares (>> Dynegy Inc) soared 20%, and headed to a three-month high after reports that the power producer received a buyout offer from Vistra Energy(>> Vistra Energy Corp).

Also in the retail sector, Ross Stores Inc. (>> Ross Stores, Inc.) rose 1% after earnings and sales met forecasts .

Shares of Foot Locker Inc.(>> Foot Locker, Inc.) slid 8% after weaker-than-expected first-quarter results.

Shares of Applied Materials Inc.(>> Applied Materials, Inc.) rose 2.2% after the microchip-materials maker's results and outlook topped Wall Street estimates late Thursday .

Other markets: European stocks saw gains across the board , with the FTSE 100 index set to break a two-day losing streak. In Asia , stocks finished mostly higher.

The dollar traded lower across the board , with the British pound recapturing the $1.30 level it lost late Thursday after a mini "flash crash," which sent it to as low as $1.2888 within seconds.

Gold prices were up modestly, while oil prices added to gains, with West Texas Intermediate crude prices trading above the $50-a-barrel mark .

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