NEW YORK – Stocks rose late Friday as buying spurred by an upbeat outlook from the computer-chip sector and strong results from Dell Computer Corp. (DELL) yielded Nasdaq's best week in more than a year and the largest percentage gain since late September 2001 for the Dow and the S&P.
The Nasdaq composite climbed 10.94 points, or 0.63 percent, to 1,741.38, according to the latest data, while the Dow Jones industrial average added 63.87 points, or 0.62 percent, to 10,353.08. The Standard & Poor's 500 gained 8.36 points, or 0.76 percent, to 1,106.59.
For the week, the Nasdaq jumped 8.8 percent, the largest such gain since April of last year when the composite notched two consecutive weeks of doubt-digit percentage gains. The Dow finished up 4.2 percent for the week and the S&P 500 rose 4.9 percent. For the Dow and S&P 500, it was the largest percentage gain since late September 2001.
"Dell is a really important indicator, so it adds a little further strength to the feeling of economic rebound," said Gary Wedbush, head of trading at investment bank Wedbush Morgan. "The rise this week was pretty broad too, and it's specifically in industries that indicate that people are seeing a recovery, like semiconductors and retailing."
Helping to shake off the early weakness were Dell's results, a fifth consecutive month of rising semiconductor equipment orders, and improving consumer sentiment data.
Dell shares edged up 10 cents to $27.95 after posting quarterly profits that topped Wall Street expectations and saying revenues and earnings would improve in the current quarter.
"I think we've lost that sense of urgency to be in the market," said Charles Payne, market analyst at research firm Wall Street Strategies. "But all year long, the knee-jerk reaction has been to think the worst and most times, sell off. You've got to look at this market and think it has held its own very well this week."
Losses in oil-related stocks weighed on the market after Russia, the world's second biggest oil exporter, said it would abandon a pact with the OPEC cartel to restrict exports intended to support the market. More supply can depress oil prices, hurting profits at oil firms.
Some attributed swings in market values on Friday to options expiration, when options and futures contracts end. On such days, there are large trades in index futures and the underlying stocks by hedge strategists, resulting in volatile markets.
Other analysts pointed to lingering investor uncertainty about the strength of an economic recovery and swift upturn in corporate earnings.
"There are two things that haven't happened and that's why there hasn't been a sustained rally," said Tim Heekin, head of trading for Thomas Weisel Partners. "We haven't seen two back-to-back quarters of improved earnings and we haven't seen a resurgence in capital spending. It'll be late summer before we have rallies that will last."
Shares of Autodesk Inc. (ADSK) fell nearly 8 percent, or $1.22, to $14.38, after the maker of design software posted profits that fell 37 percent from a year ago, slashed its earnings guidance and said its chief financial officer was leaving for an Internet start-up company.
Some chip makers gained after industry group Semiconductor Equipment and Materials International said North American makers of semiconductor equipment recorded an increase in orders for the fifth consecutive month, giving credence to hopes the semiconductor slump is over.
Utility and energy stocks also fell as worries persisted that companies recorded phantom trades purely to inflate volumes. Duke Energy (DUK) fell $1.18, or 3 percent, to $33.52 while Dynegy Inc. (DYN) shed 65 cents, or 8.5 percent, to $7.
Support -- where buyers are expected to enter the market -- is at 1,680 for the Nasdaq, 10,150 for the Dow and 1,083 for the S&P. Resistance -- the point where sellers are likely to surface -- is at 1,780 for the Nasdaq, 10,400 for the Dow and 1,120 for the S&P, according to research firm Schaeffersresearch.com.
Winners beat out losers, with 17 stocks rising for every 14 that fell on the New York Stock Exchange and 19 stocks climbing for every 16 that fell on Nasdaq. More than 1.25 billion shares changed hands on the Big Board and more than 1.6 billion on Nasdaq.
Overseas, Japan's Nikkei stock average rose 0.9 percent. In Europe, Germany's DAX index fell 0.3 percent, Britain's FTSE 100 lost 0.6 percent, and France's CAC-40 dropped 0.5 percent.
Reuters and the Associated Press contributed to this report.