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Bulls Come Out Before Holiday

Merger news helps stocks end a rocky week on a high note.

Updated from 4:10 p.m. EDT

Wall Street closed out a shaky trading week with a solidly higher session Friday as merger news helped bring in buyers before the long holiday weekend.


Dow Jones Industrial Average

broke a four-day losing streak and rose 66.15 points, or 0.49%, to 13,507.28. The

S&P 500

added 8.22 points, or 0.55%, to 1515.73, while the

Nasdaq Composite

climbed 19.27 points, or 0.76%, to 2557.19.

The major averages stayed in positive territory throughout the entire session, a reversal from the seesaw action that plagued the markets every other day this week and led to mostly lower closes.

The day's gains came, however, amid relatively thin trading volume ahead of the holiday weekend. About 2.34 billion shares changed hands on the

New York Stock Exchange

, with advancers beating decliners by a 2-to-1 margin. Volume on the Nasdaq reached 1.56 billion shares, as winners outpaced losers by 2 to 1.

Despite the higher finish, the Dow still lost 0.4% for the week, breaking a string of seven straight weekly wins. The S&P 500 slipped 0.5% over the five sessions. The Nasdaq performed slightly better than its counterparts, ending the week lower by a mere 0.04%.

Paul Nolte, director of investments of Hinsdale Associates, said the market benefited from bargain hunters on Friday. He noted, however, that next week may bring more jitters given a hefty economic docket.

"There are more investors getting comfortable with the market, though, as it's still believed to go higher," he said. "The selloffs have been short and shallow. We'll be focusing a lot more, certainly, on economic numbers next week. The calendar is filled with a lot of important reports."

Among the economic reports next week are releases on May nonfarm payrolls, first-quarter gross domestic product and consumer confidence, among others. In addition, the

Federal Reserve

will release the minutes from its latest interest rate policy meeting.

Takeover activity, which has been a big part of the market's run over the past few months, helped spur some buying Friday. The latest deal involves the


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paying $3.7 billion for Nordic stock exchange operator OMX, creating a $7.1 billion trans-Atlantic exchange operator. Shares of Nasdaq fell $1.14, or 3.4%, to $32.84.



(KO) - Get Coca-Cola Company Report

agreed to purchase Glaceau, the maker of Vitaminwater, for $4.1 billion. Coke added 65 cents, or 1.3%, to $51.89.

Meanwhile, shares of real estate investment trust



traded heavily after an industry newsletter reported that the apartment owner is in buyout talks. Shares ended the day up $4.10, or 8%, at $55.23.

Traders also absorbed more data from the housing market, and the figures threw some water on hopes of a big improvement in real estate. The National Association of Realtors said that existing-home sales eased 2.6% in April to a rate of 5.99 million annualized units, compared with 6.12 million units in March. The decline was greater than economists anticipated.

"The underlying trend in existing-home sales continues to decline, and it now seems more likely than ever that the jump in sales in January/February was simply due to the extremely mild November/December weather," said Ian Shepherdson, chief economist with High Frequency Economics. "Price pressures will remain downward, scaring off buyers."

The report comes a day after the Commerce Department said that new-home sales rose a greater-than-expected 16.2% last month to an annual rate of 981,000 units. Economists were looking for only an 860,000-unit pace.

That housing report lent to worries that the

Federal Reserve

will not cut interest rates anytime soon, and it sent the major averages reeling Thursday.

The Dow fell 84.52 points, or 0.6%, to 13,441.13, a swing of 183 points from its session high. The Nasdaq plunged 39.13 points, or 1.5%, to 2537.92, and the S&P was off 14.77 points, or nearly 1%, at 1507.51.

Treasury yields, which jumped in the prior session as rate-cut hopes dimmed, continued their march higher Friday. The 10-year note fell 4/32 in price to yield 4.86%, and the 30-year bond dropped 5/32, pushing its yield to 5.00%.

The bond market closed at 2 p.m. EDT ahead of the long holiday weekend.

Commodities were mostly higher. The front-month July crude contract surged $1.02 to end the day at $65.20 a barrel, while natural gas was down 4 cents at $7.64 per million British thermal units. Gold added $2 to close at $655.30 an ounce, and silver tacked on 8 cents at $13 an ounce.

Asian markets declined. Tokyo's Nikkei dropped 1.2%, and Hong Kong's Hang Seng slumped 1.3%. European bourses gained some ground. London's FTSE edged 0.1% higher, while Frankfurt's DAX advanced 0.5%.