Stocks snapped a three-day losing streak Friday, letting investors recoup some of the losses incurred during a week in which concerns about interest rates roiled the US market. In Friday's session, the Dow Jones industrial average showed its biggest point gain in more than two months, and the Standard & Poor's 500 index crossed back above the 1,500 mark.
After briefly dipping into negative territory, stocks gained steam Friday as yields on the 10-year Treasury note backed off five-year highs of 5.25 percent. As stocks closed Friday, the yield on the benchmark note hovered around 5.11%.
Yields, which move in the opposite direction of bond prices, jumped during the week after investors grew less optimistic that the Federal Reserve would lower short-term interest rates. The sentiment emerged following comments from Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke about inflation and as several central banks outside the United States raised rates. A move in the 10-year bond yield above 5% Thursday - a level not seen since last summer - sent stock market investors rushing to bonds.
The pullback during the week left stocks ripe for buying Friday.
The Dow industrials rose 157.66, or 1.19%, to 13,424.39.
Broader stock indicators also jumped. The S&P 500 advanced 16.95, or 1.14%, to 1,507.67. It was just last month that the index crossed above the 1,500 mark for the first time in nearly seven years.
The Nasdaq composite index on Friday rose 32.16, or 1.27%, to 2,573.54.
The session's gains couldn't offset all the losses for a week that started out with fresh closing records for the Dow and the S&P 500. The Dow fell 1.78% for the week, while the S&P 500 lost 1.87% and the Nasdaq gave up 1.54%. Before stocks regained some lost ground Friday, the major indexes had each fallen nearly 3% in what was the biggest three-session decline since a short-lived pullback that began February 27.
The coming week brings expiration of options contracts, and stocks have managed gains in 12 of the 17 such weeks since the start of last year.
Stocks received a boost Friday as oil prices fell after a cyclone spared major oil installations in the Gulf of Oman, easing supply concerns.
European shares lost ground as investors continued to worry about the impact of higher interest rates, while shares in French bank BNP Paribas rose after a report stirred up takeover hopes for the group.
The UK FTSE 100 index ended flat at 6,505.10, the German DAX Xetra 30 index fell 0.4% to 7,590.50 and the French CAC-40 index slipped 0.1% to 5,883.29.
The Nikkei Stock Average of 225 issues closed at 17,779.09 points on the Tokyo Stock Exchange, down 274.29 points, or 1.52%, from Thursday.
The dollar extended its gains Friday on the back of rising bond yields, nudged higher by news that the US trade deficit fell sharply in April.
The 13-nation euro fell to $1.3373 in late New York trading from $1.3427 earlier in the day, according to Thomson Financial.
The British pound dropped to $1.9700 from $1.9792, while Japan's currency advanced to 121.70 yen from 120.75 yen.
The dollar continued its rise after Thursday's news of climbing bond yields lessened the likelihood of an interest-rate cut by the US Federal Reserve.
The euro weakened Wednesday after the European Central Bank raised its benchmark interest rate to 4% but sent moderate signals on its future course.
The British pound also fell after the Bank of England on Thursday held its key interest rate steady at 5.5%.
The dollar bought 1.0600 Canadian dollars, up from 1.0593, according to Thomson Financial.
Gold prices plummeted Friday as the US dollar rose against other world currencies.
The commodities markets suffered broad declines. Crude oil prices shed more than $2, corn and soybean futures settled lower while most of the industrial metals posted losses.
Gold for August delivery dropped $14.90 to settle at $650.30 an ounce on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
Meanwhile, crude oil prices plunged after it became clear that neither Tropical Cyclone Gonu in the Persian Gulf nor Turkish shelling of Kurdish bases in Iraq had threatened oil production.
Light, sweet crude for July delivery lost $2.17 to settle at $64.76 a barrel.
Gasoline futures fell 6.56 cents to end at $2.1271 a gallon. This week, the US Energy Information Administration reported a fifth straight week of rising gasoline inventories, which weighed on prices.