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Stocks at Session Highs as Energy Sector Picks Up Steam


NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Stocks moved to session highs Friday in a heavy-volume quadruple-witching session following a two-day rally that was triggered by the Federal Reserve's promise to be "patient" in its approach to raising interest rates.

The S&P 500 was up 0.7%, the Dow Jones Industrial Average added 83 points, and the Nasdaq rose 0.58%.

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Trading volume on domestic stock exchanges had exceeded the average 766 million shares traded over the previous four days. The high volume was due to Friday being a quadruple-witching session, one of four days of the year in which futures and options contracts expire at once.

Oil prices rebounded on Friday with West Texas Intermediate crude up 4.3% to $56.45 a barrel. Prices have been more volatile than usual over the past 24 hours after Saudi Arabia's oil minister, Ali al-Naimi, said OPEC wouldn't be able to stabilize oil prices alone lest it lose market share.

"It's just a reaction to perceptions that economic activity is not as weak as expected," said James Abate, CIO of Centre Funds, in a call. "It's silly to look into things from an intraday or day-to-day basis without looking at a longer trend and the trend is clearly down."

Energy shares were among the best performers of the market with the Energy Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLE) up 1.8%. Major oilers and oil services companies pulled the sector higher with Chevron (CVX) climbing 2.5%, Schlumberger (SLB) gaining 2.8%, and Kinder Morgan (KMI) jumping 2.7%.

Veterinary drug developer Aratana Therapeutics (PETX) announced that its canine osteoarthritis pain drug had performed better in drug trials than a placebo. Shares rocketed 20% higher.

American Apparel (APP) was reportedly approached by Irving Place Capital to discuss a possible takeover, according to The Wall Street Journal. Shares were up 9%, adding to an increase of more than 80% this week following the official termination of former CEO Dov Charney.

ImmunoGen (IMGN) plummeted more than 35% on news Roche's clinical trials for a breast cancer treatment had failed to significantly improve patients' conditions. The treatment had been developed based on ImmunoGen technology.

Teekay Tankers (TNK)  fell 13% after UBS downgraded the stock to "neutral" on valuation.

In earnings Friday, BlackBerry (BBRY) was diving 1.6% after revenue dropped by a third in its fiscal third quarter. Adjusted earnings of a penny beat expectations for a loss of 5 cents a share.

CarMax (KMX) added 10% as third-quarter profit beat forecasts and revenue jumped 16%. Finish Line (FINL) tumbled 18% as 2015 profit guidance of $1.67 a share missed consensus by 11 cents.

Nike (NKE) , though it beat quarterly earnings forecasts, caused concern when it reported the slowest growth rate of future orders in four quarters. Shares were 1.8% lower.

Red Hat (RHT) spiked more than 10% as third-quarter revenue jumped 15% and the company provided positive guidance for its fourth quarter.

STOCKS TO BUY: TheStreet Quant Ratings has identified a handful of stocks that can potentially TRIPLE in the next 12 months. Learn more.

--Written by Keris Alison Lahiff in New York.

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