Stocks post solid gains as technology shares lead rally

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A woman looks at screens showing Japan's Nikkei 225 index at a securities firm in Tokyo on Friday, Sept. 25, 2020. Asian shares advanced Friday, cheered by a modest rally on Wall Street and rising hopes for fresh stimulus for the U.S. economy.(AP Photo/Hiro Komae)

TOKYO – Stocks shook off another bout of volatile trading and finished solidly higher Friday, led by gains in technology and health care companies. Despite the rally, the S&P 500 still posted its fourth straight weekly loss, extending Wall Street's September swoon.

The S&P 500 rose 1.6% after flip-flopping between small gains and losses a few times in the early going. Stocks have been erratic this month, with indexes setting new highs to start the month and then falling sharply as investors worried that values for some of technology giants had risen too high.

The benchmark index ended the week with a 0.6% loss for its first four-week losing streak in more than a year. The index is now down 5.8% for September, following five straight months of gains.

The S&P 500 came within striking distance of a 10% drop from its all-time high earlier this week, what Wall Street calls a correction. Friday’s gains reflect, in part, traders taking advantage of the selling to snap up stocks at lower prices, said David Lyon, global investment specialist at J.P. Morgan Private Bank.

“You’re getting a market that got close to a 10% correction, so you’re starting to see buyers step in to buy the dip,” Lyon said.

Fund managers also tend to make moves toward the end of a quarter to bolster their portfolios, another reason for the end-of-the-week buying spree, he said.

The S&P 500 rose 51.87 points to 3,298.46. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 358.52 points, or 1.3%, to 27,173.96. The Nasdaq composite climbed 241.30 points, or 2.3%, to 10,913.56.

Smaller stocks also notched gains. The Russell 2000 index of small-cap stocks picked up 23.09 points, or 1.6%, to 1,474.91.