Most regional stocks finished the week on a good note Friday, with YRC, Cerner, and Garmin leading the way.
Shares in YRC, which has expressed interest in buying Arkansas Best, closed up 4.3 percent.
Cerner climbed 1.1 percent, Garmin finished up 2.2 percent, Layne Christensen closed 1.4 percent higher, and Compass Minerals ended up 1 percent.
Overall, the stock market was mostly flat in afternoon trading Friday but finished the week higher.
The Dow Jones industrial average closed up 35.87 points to close at 15,118.49. The Dow is up 0.7 percent for the week and 15 percent so far this year. The broader Standard & Poor's 500 closed up 7.03 points to 1,633.70. The Nasdaq closed at 3,436.58, up 27.41 points.
The BATS 1000 rose 73.95 points, or 0.40%, to close at 18,407.16.
The price of commodities including crude oil and gold fell as the dollar continued to strengthen against other currencies, especially the Japanese yen. That, in turn, pushed down several Dow stocks tied to commodity prices.
Exxon Mobil and Chevron each fell 1 percent.
Among stock gainers, Priceline.com and chip maker Nvidia both rose about 4 percent after reporting higher earnings. Priceline jumped $26.37 to $764 and Nvidia was up 62 cents to $14.53.
Clothing store chain Gap rose after reporting higher sales in April and predicting first-quarter earnings that were higher than financial analysts expected. Gap rose $2.08 to $40.89, or 5 percent.
Nearly all companies in the S&P 500 have reported first quarter earnings. The average net income for companies in the index is expected to rise 5 percent, according to S&P Capital IQ, a research firm. But revenue has fallen short in many cases, suggesting that companies are mostly cutting expenses to post higher profits.
Some investors are worried that companies won't be able to keep cutting and profit growth will slow, but stocks have gone higher anyway.
“The talk at the end of April was company earnings are slowing … and it seemed like we'd have another `Sell in May,' “ said Gary Flam, who manages stock portfolios at Bel Air Investment Advisors. “But clearly that's not been the case in the first ten days.”
The S&P has risen every day since the beginning of the month until Thursday, when it fell six points. The Dow rose above 15,000 for the first time Tuesday and it's stayed there since. The Nasdaq is at 12-year highs.
Flam speculates that stocks are rising partly because investors have shifted from fear to greed.
“The last few years, risk was defined as losing money,” he said. “The last few months, it's been defined as not making money.”
Five of the ten industry groups in the S&P 500 index were higher. Health care stocks rose the most, 0.7 percent.
Among other stocks in the news:
– Falling commodity prices also weighed on Dow members Alcoa, the aluminum giant, and Caterpillar, which makes mining equipment. Both dropped more than 1.5 percent.
– True Religion Apparel, known for high-priced jeans, rose 2.16, or 7.3 percent, to $31.60 after announcing it had agreed to a buyout offer of about $826 million from the investment management firm TowerBrook Capital Partners LP.
– Dell climbed after activist investor Carl Icahn and another big investor fighting founder Michael Dell's offer to take the company private launched another broadside against the plan. In a letter to Dell's board, they proposed a deal that would keep the company public and pay shareholders cash or stock worth $12 a share. Dell rose to 14 cents, or 1 percent, to $13.46 per share.
Capitol Federal Financial rose 3 cents, or 0.25%, to close at $11.95.
Cerner Corp. rose $1.03, or 1.10%, to close at $95.08.
Commerce Bancshares Inc. rose 28 cents, or 0.69%, to close at $40.99.
Compass Minerals rose 84 cents, or 0.96%, to close at $88.50.
DST Systems Inc. rose 49 cents, or 0.70%, to close at $70.09.
Ferrellgas Partners L.P. rose 28 cents, or 1.38%, to close at $20.53.
Garmin Ltd. rose 79 cents, or 2.24%, to close at $36.12.
Great Plains Energy rose 32 cents, or 1.36%, to close at $23.88.
H&R Block Inc. rose 29 cents, or 1.05%, to close at $27.82.
Inergy L.P. rose 17 cents, or 0.72%, to close at $23.89.
Kansas City Life Insurance Co. rose 19 cents, or 0.51%, to close at $37.78.
Kansas City Southern rose 67 cents, or 0.61%, to close at $109.93.
Layne Christensen Co. rose 29 cents, or 1.42%, to close at $20.77.
O'Reilly Automotive Inc. rose 14 cents, or 0.13%, to close at $110.20.
Sprint Nextel Corp. rose 1 cents, or 0.14%, to close at $7.36.
UMB Financial Corp. rose 13 cents, or 0.26%, to close at $50.57.
Waddell & Reed Financial Corp. rose 28 cents, or 0.63%, to close at $44.53.
YRC Worldwide Inc. rose 60 cents, or 4.26%, to close at $14.67.