U.S. stocks rebounded Friday, with the Nasdaq composite closing above 5,000 for only the second time since the dot-com bubble in 2000, as investors cheered strong earnings and a boost in oil prices. Friday also saw an increase in trading volume due to “quadruple witching,” or the expiration of stock options that occurs on the third Friday at the end of every quarter, in March, June, September and December.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEXDJX:.DJI), which measures the share prices of 30 large industrial companies, soared 168.62 points, or 0.94 percent, to close at 18,127.65. The Standard & Poor's 500 stock index (INDEXNASDAQ:.IXIC) added 18.83 points, or 0.90 percent, to end at 2,108.10. The Nasdaq composite (INDEXSP:.INX) gained 34.04 points, or 0.68 percent, to finish at 5,026.42.
For the year, the Dow has added more than 1.7 percent, or 305 points, and the S&P 500 index has risen more than 2 percent, or 49 points. The Nasdaq has gained 290 points, or more than 6 percent.
The Nasdaq’s climb above the psychologically important 5,000 milestone Friday was driven by gains it its biotechnology sector. Shares of Biogen Idec Inc. (NASDAQ:BIIB) surged more than 9 percent to close at $475.98 after the company announced its experimental drug, known as aducanumab, or BIIB037, became the first Alzheimer's treatment to significantly slow the cognitive decline in patients with early and mild forms of the disease, according to an early-stage study. Biogen Idec said it plans to move the drug into a late-stage trial later this year with more than 1,000 patients.
Sports apparel retailer Nike Inc. (NYSE:NKE) helped boost the blue-chip Dow Friday after shares rose more than 4 percent to close at $102.69. The gains came after the company posted earnings that topped Wall Street expectations, as net income climbed 16 percent in the fiscal third quarter to $791 million, or earnings of 89 cents per share. Revenue rose 7 percent to $7.46 billion.
The U.S. dollar dipped below recent highs, falling more than 1 percent Friday, while the euro edged up to $1.08 against the greenback. Meanwhile, the dollar’s dip helped oil prices rebound to close higher Friday. West Texas Intermediate crude, the benchmark for U.S. oil prices, rose more than 4 percent to $45.72 a barrel, for April 15 delivery on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, the benchmark for global oil prices, rose more than 1 percent to $55.05 a barrel, for May 15 delivery on the London ICE Futures Exchange.
Market professionals also analyzed statements from a Federal Reserve official to gauge the timetable of when the central bank plans to raise interest rates. Dennis Lockhart, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, said the Federal Open Market Committee should raise rates sometime between June and September, despite the effects of the strengthening U.S. dollar.
Lockhart is one of the first central bank policymakers to speak following the Fed’s meeting on Wednesday. “I can't be certain it is going to happen in those three months,” Lockhart said during an event on monetary policy at the Georgia Law Review Symposium in Athens, Georgia, on Friday. “But I think it is realistic to assume that is the period in which we will be taking on this decision with a high likelihood of pulling the trigger.”