U.S. stocks ended the week on a high following a volatile week shortened to four trading days with markets closed on Monday for Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Stocks have been following the price of oil, which ended the day up at $32 a barrel.
The S&P 500 ended up 37 points at 1,906, the Dow Jones Industrial Average moved up by 210 points to 16,093 and the Nasdaq finished up 119 points to 4,591. The S&P Retail ETF added 70 cents to close at $40.37.
European equities rallied as well and enjoyed the first weekly rise this year. The German DAX closed up 1.9 percent, the U.K. FTSE closed up 2.19 percent and the French CAC ended the day up 3.1 percent.
Stocks may be in rally mode, but bruised investors are still jumping back into the safe haven of gold. Gold fell just $3.90 on Friday, but with the way equities were moving higher, it should have lost much more. That makes many watchers feel that there is still some fear in the market. Overall, gold is up 2.5 percent over the past 30 days and closed at $1,097 an ounce.
American Express got pummeled as the stock was down a whopping 12 percent to $55.06 after the credit card company reported fourth-quarter results. The quarter’s total revenues dropped 8 percent from last year and the company blamed intense competition that is reshaping the payments industry. Net income for the full year dropped 12 percent from a year ago. AmEx will be cutting $1 billion in costs over the next two years. The outlook for the company was very disappointing as it has lost major partners like Fidelity, Costco and JetBlue Airways.
Bon-Ton stock jumped another 22 percent to $2.16 on no news. The stock hit a low of $1.39 on Wednesday following news that the company had retired its remaining mortgage loan facility. It has since jumped on light trading volume, increasing 44 percent in two days. The company confirmed it did not have a share buyback program and suggested the support of the stock was due to the confirmation of the earnings guidance and the retirement of the mortgage facility.
Wal-Mart investors don’t seem too worried that the company was found to have illegally fired striking workers. Wal-Mart was ordered by a labor judge to give the fired workers their jobs back and to give them back pay. Wal-Mart also has to inform workers that they have a protected right to strike. Wal-Mart shares ended the day up more than 1 percent at $62.69.