Stocks advanced Friday, capping a strong week, helped by a recovery in the price of oil and earnings from Olive Garden owner Darden Restaurants and sportswear giant Nike.
The Nasdaq composite index inched closer to its all-time high set at the height of the dot-com bubble.
Once again, it was the Federal Reserve affecting much of this week’s market movement. The Fed implied at the end of its two-day meeting Wednesday that its policymakers were in no hurry to raise interest rates with the U.S. economy still growing slowly and inflation extremely low. Friday’s rally was partly an extension of that, strategists said.
“The trepidation in the market before the Fed announcement has disappeared,” said Kristina Hooper, U.S. investment strategist at Allianz Global Investments.
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 168.62, or 0.9 percent, to 18,127.65. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index rose 18.83, or 0.9 percent, to 2,108.10. The Nasdaq composite rose 34.04, or 0.7 percent, to 5,026.42.
The Nasdaq closed 22 points from the record high of 5,048 it set in March 2000. It has taken the Nasdaq 15 years to recover from the dot-com bubble, while the S&P 500 and Dow recovered their losses in 2007 and 2006.
Dow member Nike was among the biggest gainers Friday, rising $3.66, or 3.7 percent, to $101.98. Nike’s results beat expectations, but investors focused more on the fact that foreign sales remain strong despite the rising dollar and overseas market volatility.
The rapid rise in the dollar has been a particular sore spot for investors. The dollar is up more than 8 percent against the major currencies this year, which makes goods made in the U.S. more expensive abroad and has had a direct negative impact on sales. Oil also helped the market Friday. After dropping more than 3 percent Thursday, U.S. benchmark oil for April delivery jumped $1.76, or 4 percent, to $45.72 a barrel. Energy stocks rose far more than the rest of the market. The S&P 500’s energy sector gained 2 percent.