NEW YORK (
) -- Stocks rose for the second straight day Friday following an intervention by the Group of Seven to weaken the Japanese yen and dividend announcements from U.S. companies.
Dow Jones Industrial Average
rose by 84 points, or 0.7%, to close at 11,858. The
finished higher by a little more than 5 points, or 0.4%, at 1279, and the
gained 7 points, or 0.3%, at 2644.
Stocks finished a volatile week lower, with the Dow shedding about 1.5% of its value. The S&P lost 1.9% while the Nasdaq suffered the brunt of the selloff, shedding 2.6%. The Nasdaq is now in the negative territory for 2011.
Tensions in the Middle East still weighed on the markets somewhat Friday. Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi declared an immediate cease-fire shortly after the
United Nations authorized military strikes against Gadhafi loyalist troops, but media reports said the fighting continued.
In a Friday address, President Obama said the U.S. wouldn't send ground troops to Libya, but didn't rule out military action if Gadhafi continues attacks against Libyans.
Yemen, 40 people were killed and hundreds more were wounded after government forces opened fire on anti-government demonstrators.
Global markets rose early in the session as finance ministers in the G-7, which includes the world's most industrialized nations,
coordinated an intervention to stem the yen's spike, which was threatening Japan's economy by making it more expensive for companies to export products.
The dollar rose to 80.71 yen, from 78.95 late Thursday. The dollar index was down by 0.5%.
Japan's Nikkei jumped 2.7% and Hong Kong's Hang Seng rose 0.07% even as the
People's Bank of China ordered its banks to raise reserves by 0.5% of deposits in its third move this year to cool inflation. London's FTSE gained 0.6% and the DAX in Frankfurt added 0.3%.
financial sector showed strong gains after Federal Reserve completed its second round of stress tests and
boosted their dividends.
were the strongest gainers on the Dow while
were the only components that finished in the negative territory.
Also on Friday,
will issue a 6-cent quarterly dividend -- the company's first -- sending shares up 0.7% to $17.12.
"The market is doing a little bit better partially because Gadhafi called for a cease-fire, which has stabilized oil prices, and we're getting more clarity over in Japan," said Marc Pado, U.S. market strategist at Cantor Fitzgerald. "The uncertainty created a real problem for investors but the Japanese have done a good job in the last 24 hours of assessing the situation, discussing the alternatives and clearly stating exactly what they're doing. Plus, we have a time line. If they can get the pumps up and running, we'll know by Sunday. Having an endgame like that is good for the market."
According to latest press reports, Japan has managed to successfully connect its damaged nuclear power plants to a power cable so that they can activate the plants' cooling pumps and prevent a nuclear meltdown. It remains uncertain whether that will be enough to cool the fuel rods, but it is being seen as a positive development.
"The market now has a better sense of the damage, so investors can focus on the stocks that will be affected. We now know which plants have been impacted and which companies are suspending production so we're no longer seeing the indiscriminate selling on fear," Pado said.
More than 1.1 billion shares traded on the
New York Stock Exchange
and 2.1 billion changed hands on the Nasdaq. 70% of NYSE shares gained ground while 27% declined.
In company news,
shares jumped 34% to $8.40 on
news that it will be acquired by
. Quest's stock was down 1.5% at $53.37.
shares plunged 9.2% to $77.59 after the
athletic apparel company said rising costs will hurt its margins. On Thursday, the company said it earned $1.08 a share in its most recent quarter, falling short of analysts' estimates for $1.11.
In commodity markets, the April crude contract shed 35 cents to settle at $101.07 a barrel and the more actively traded May contract lost 54 cents to settle at $101.85 a barrel. The April gold contract gained $11.90, or 0.8%, to settle at $1,415.90 an ounce.
The benchmark 10-year Treasury fell 4/32, lifting the yield to 3.270%.
--Written by Melinda Peer and Shanthi Bharatwaj in New York
Disclosure: TheStreet's editorial policy prohibits staff editors and reporters from holding positions in any individual stocks.