Stocks Rally; Apple On Track For Big Weekly Gain – Investor’s Business Daily

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Stocks rallied to big gains Friday, with the Nasdaq taking the lead amid moves from Apple (AAPL) and Applied Materials (AMAT).

The Nasdaq jumped 1.2% in the stock market today, while the S&P 500 rose 0.7% and the Dow Jones industrial average 0.6%. Volume was higher across the board vs. the same time Thursday.

Chip, energy and steel stocks led the upside, while utilities, medical software and retailers lagged. Oil prices were slightly lower, with West Texas Intermediate crude at $47.65 a barrel. Gold prices climbed 0.2% to $1,257.30 an ounce.

In economic news, April existing-home sales rose 6% year over year to 5.45 million, above forecasts for 5.4 million and a 1.7% increase from March. Baker Hughes’ weekly oil rig count is due out at 1 p.m. ET.

Apple rose nearly 1% in heavy volume, on track for a 5% advance for the week. That would mark its first weekly gain in a month. Shares of the iPhone maker are still 28% off their 52-week high and well below the 50-day and 200-day moving averages.

Applied Materials gapped up and soared 13% in rapid turnover to a 52-week high. After the close Thursday, the chip gear maker reported fiscal Q2 results above views and offered Q3 guidance well above forecasts.

Find out which semiconductor equipment maker earns top marks at IBD Stock Checkup.

Ross Stores (ROST) slumped 4% in heavy volume after its mixed Q1 results late Thursday, though it pared a much steeper early loss. Foot Locker (FL) stumbled 7% in fast trade to a 15-month low after its Q1 earnings met but revenue missed views.

Yahoo (YHOO) fell 1% on reports late Thursday of lower-than-expected offers for the embattled Internet search and content provider, in the $2 billion to $3 billion range.