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Stocks Close Higher as Tech Rally Offsets Stimulus and Virus Worry

Stocks end higher Friday as tech shares rally to close out a volatile week.

Stocks finished Friday as tech shares rallied, overshadowing investors' doubts about passage of a new U.S. stimulus package and worries about a surge in coronavirus cases worldwide.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished up 358 points, or 1.34%, to 27,173, the S&P 500 rose 1.6% and the tech-heavy Nasdaq rose 2.26%. 

Apple  (AAPL) - Get Apple Inc. Report rose 3.8% and Tesla  (TSLA) - Get Tesla Inc Report was up 5%.

Despite Friday's gains, the Dow and S&P 500 recorded their fourth straight week of declines.

Democrats in the House have begun drafting a stimulus proposal of about $2.4 trillion. The package is smaller than a $3.4 trillion plan the House passed in May, but remains above what Senate Republicans have said they would accept. President Donald Trump said he wouldn't go higher than $1.5 trillion.

The bill could get passed by the House next week, according to Bloomberg.

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“This stimulus deal needs to go through,” said Stephen Innes of AxiCorp. “With the risks building up everywhere you look, it doesn’t seem to be a great time to be trying to pick the bottom of equity markets, but a stimulus relief bill will go a long way to nudging the market along.”

Prospects for stimulus talks lifted stocks on Thursday. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said he planned to resume fiscal-stimulus talks with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. The statement overshadowed disappointing U.S. jobless numbers and a resurgence of global coronavirus cases, which have surged to more than 32 million globally and to more than 7 million in the U.S.

Mnuchin told a Senate Banking Committee hearing Thursday that a targeted pandemic relief package was “still needed."

Costco Wholesale  (COST) - Get Costco Wholesale Corporation Report finished down 1.3% Friday. Coronavirus expenses, including wage increases, took some of the shine off the warehouse retailer's strong fourth-quarter earnings report, which included record same-store-sales growth.

Costco's pandemic-related costs topped $280 million in the quarter, compared with a $100 million forecast, linked largely to a $2 per hour premium paid to employees, which the company said equates to around $14 million a week.

Novavax  (NVAX) - Get Novavax, Inc. Report jumped 11% after the company said its coronavirus vaccine candidate entered late-stage trials in the U.K.

The Gaithersburg, Md., company also said it had begun planning a larger, 30,000-person U.S. study that would begin enrolling volunteers in mid-October.