Stocks maintain rally
Major indices climb out of morning's negative territory after signs on inflation and trade come in better than expected; investors look to earnings and guidance next week.
NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Stocks made steady gains after an early dip Friday, with the Dow leading the way for the bulk of the day before the Nasdaq caught up in the later afternoon.
The Dow Jones industrial average (up 56.89 to 12,609.85, Charts) added 0.47 percent, according to early tallies. The broader S&P 500 (up 5.03 to 1,452.83, Charts) index rose 0.35 percent and the Nasdaq (Charts) rose 0.47 percent.
For the week, the Dow rose 51 points, or 0.4 percent. The S&P gained 9 points, or 0.6 percent, and the Nasdaq climbed 20 points, or 0.8 percent.
Treasury prices fell, raising the yield on the benchmark 10-year note to 4.77 percent, while the dollar was little-changed against the yen and lower against the euro.
Oil eased slightly and gold hit a six-week high.
Here's a look at what was moving near the close.
"I think it's one of those weeks where people get to the end and wind down and just look to next week," said Art Hogan, chief market analyst at Jeffries. "The themes are still in place -- what are earnings going to look like? What guidance is going to look like is will be a focus."
In corporate news, General Electric (Charts) reported higher quarterly earnings and revenue that met analysts' forecasts. The company also gave earnings guidance for the second quarter and the full year that was in line with forecasts.
Merck (up $3.85 to $50.21, Charts) shares surged nearly 8 percent after the company said late Thursday that first-quarter earnings would top estimates, overshadowing news that a government advisory panel said Merck's proposed painkiller Arcoxia should not be approved.
On Friday, a federal judge in New Jersey threw out a class-action lawsuit regarding its withdrawn painkiller Vioxx.
SLM (up $6.12 to $46.87, Charts) surged 13 percent on news that its in talks with buyout firms and could be sold for over $20 billion, according to a New York Times report. SLM, also known as Sallie Mae, is the largest U.S. student loan provider. A marked increase in trading of the stock before the report did not necessarily suggest insider trading, according to analysts interviewed by Reuters.
In other news, Apple (down $1.95 to $90.24, Charts) said late Thursday that it is delaying the release of its new operating system, Leopard, to October from June, because it had to divert its engineering resources to the new iPhone. The iPhone is still on track for a June release, the company said.
Market breadth was positive. On the New York Stock Exchange, winners beat losers by a margin of 2 to 1 on volume of 1.40 billion shares. On the Nasdaq, advancers narrowly topped decliners on a margin of 2 to 1 on volume of 1.86 billion shares.
U.S. light crude oil for May delivery fell 22 cents to $63.63 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
In currency trading, the dollar was little changed versus the yen and modestly lower versus the euro.