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Stocks end bullish on Wall Street but still bearish for the week

NEW YORK, N.Y. – Stocks ended higher on Wall Street with some retailers posting big gains after reporting surprisingly strong quarterly results and giving investors encouraging forecasts.

Energy stocks fell along with crude oil prices to suffer weekly losses after several days of bumpy trading. Gap, Ross Stores and Foot Locker all rose sharply. Energy stocks fell along with crude oil prices.

The S&P 500 rose 0.5% Friday. The Nasdaq ended just barely in the green and the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.6%. Bond yields rose. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note, which helps set mortgage rates, climbed to 3.82%.

Stocks edged up higher on Wall Street Friday afternoon, though major indexes remained on pace to finish lower for the week after several days of bumpy trading.

The S&P 500 rose 0.4% as of 3:27 p.m. Eastern. The benchmark index had traded as high as 0.8% earlier in the day. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 159 points, or 0.5%, to 33,709 and the Nasdaq slipped 0.1%.

Health care, financial and utilities stocks were among the biggest gainers in the S&P 500. UnitedHealth Group rose 2.7%, Charles Schwab gained 2.5% and Sempra Energy added 2.3%.

A slide in energy and technology companies kept the market’s gains in check. Exxon Mobil fell 1% amid a broad pullback in energy futures. U.S. crude oil settled 1.9% lower.

“It’s all been the same story for a year,” said Keith Buchanan, portfolio manager at Globalt Investments. “It’s about what inflation is doing, how the Fed responds, and from there how does the consumer respond.”

Trading has been choppy this month as investors have weighed company earnings reports, economic data and signals from the Federal Reserve as to what the central bank will do next in its fight to lower inflation.

The U.S. reported this week that retail sales rose 1.3% in October as Americans increase their spending at stores, restaurants, and auto dealers, a sign of consumer resilience as the holiday shopping season begins. That’s not to say consumer behavior hasn’t been affected by inflation. Major retailers say Americans are holding out for sales, refusing to pay full price, with the cost of gasoline, rent, food and almost everything else much higher than it was last year.

Most of the 11 company sectors in the benchmark S&P 500 rose, with health care and financial stocks accounting for a big share of the gains. UnitedHealth Group rose 2.9% and Charles Schwab added 2.5%.

European markets closed higher. Asian markets closed mixed overnight.

Bond yields rose. The yield on the 10-year Treasury, which influences mortgage rates, rose to 3.82% from 3.77%.

Joe McDonald and Matt Ott contributed to this report.

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