Positive technology outlook boosts stock market
New York • The stock market ended higher Friday following corporate deal news and a positive outlook for the technology industry.
Intel jumped after the company said sales of business computers have been stronger than expected, and raised its revenue forecast. The news lifted technology stocks and was positive sign for investors who are betting that rising investment at businesses will help drive the economy this year.
Still, major indexes had their first weekly losses in a month. A combination of so-so economic news and concerns about the impact of higher oil prices weighed on stocks.
"The economy is still on a decent trend, but it's choppy and I think we can expect the same for the market," said Jerry Braakman, chief investment officer at First American Trust.
The Standard & Poor's 500 index climbed 6.05 points, or 0.3 percent, to 1,936.16. The index ended the week 0.7 percent lower after closing at an all-time high of 1,951.27 on Monday.
The Dow Jones industrial average gained 41.55 points, or 0.3 percent, to 16,775.74. The Nasdaq composite climbed 13.02 points, or 0.3 percent, to 4,310.65.
Intel was one of the top gainers in the S&P 500 after the company raised its revenue forecast late Thursday and said it expects profit margins to increase. The stock jumped $1.91, or 6.8 percent, to $29.87 on the news.
A spurt of corporate deals also pushed stocks higher.
Gambling equipment manufacturer International Game Technology was the biggest gainer in the S&P 500. It jumped $1.51, or 10.5 percent, to $15.86 after Reuters reported that a number of companies were considering bidding for it.
OpenTable, an online restaurant booking service, surged $34.05, or 48.3 percent, to $104.48 after the company agreed to be acquired by Priceline for $2.6 billion. The deal will help Priceline, the online travel company, branch out into a new business segment while Priceline's international reach will help OpenTable expand overseas.
The deal sparked speculation that other technology companies could be acquired. Yelp's stock surged $9.08, or nearly 14 percent, to close at $74.92.
"It seems like you have a deal almost every day," said John Fox, director of research at Fenimore Asset Management.
The number of acquisitions completed this year is roughly the same as it was at this point last year, but the value has surged. U.S. companies have closed deals worth $714 billion, up 47 percent from $485 billion over the same period last year, according to Dealogic.
Clothes retailer Express also rose on merger news, rising 21 percent after it said it had been approached about a takeover by Sycamore Partners, a New York-based private equity company. Sycamore already owns 9.9 percent of Express' stock.