* Markets in broad rally on hopes for China stimulus
* Momentum stocks still in focus, Netflix edges lower
* Red Hat down after outlook, BlackBerry up on results
* Indexes up: Dow 0.8 pct, S&P 0.8 pct, Nasdaq 1 pct
(Updates to open, adds sentiment data)
By Ryan Vlastelica
NEW YORK, March 28 U.S. stocks climbed on
Friday, with all 10 major S&P 500 sectors gaining in a broad
rally after comments from a Chinese official indicated that the
country's government was ready to take steps to support its
With the day's gain, the Dow turned positive for the week
and the S&P sharply cut its weekly losses and returned to
solidly positive territory for 2014. The Nasdaq, however,
remained on track for a negative week following an extended
period of investors taking profits in some of the market's
China's Premier Li Keqiang said the government had the
necessary accommodative policies in place and would push ahead
with infrastructure investment. "We cannot neglect the
increasing downward pressure and difficulties," he said in a
speech on Wednesday, reported by the Xinhua news agency early on
The prospect of slowing growth in China, the world's
second-largest economy, has long been a market headwind. Recent
data has pointed to the weakest growth there since the global
financial crisis, raising hopes that Beijing would step in with
support for the economy.
"This could avert a slowdown in China, and any stimulus that
helps growth somewhere should help growth globally," said Jack
Ablin, chief investment officer at BMO Private Bank in Chicago.
Red Hat Inc reported fourth-quarter earnings that
beat expectations late Thursday, though the company gave a
full-year profit view that was below forecasts. Shares fell 5.7
percent to $52.95.
U.S. shares of BlackBerry rose 1.7 percent
to $9.20 after reporting an adjusted fourth-quarter loss that
was much narrower than expected. It also reported revenue that
was below forecasts as smartphone sales continued to slide in
The Dow Jones industrial average was up 132.39
points, or 0.81 percent, at 16,396.62. The Standard & Poor's 500
Index was up 14.94 points, or 0.81 percent, at 1,863.98.
The Nasdaq Composite Index was up 42.69 points, or 1.03
percent, at 4,193.93.
For the week, the Dow is up 0.6 percent, the S&P is down 0.1
percent and the Nasdaq is down 1.9 percent.
The week's losses were concentrated in the Nasdaq as
investors took profit in some of the market's biggest
outperformers, primarily in the Internet and biotech space. Some
analysts say the selloff in "momentum" stocks has yet to run its
course, though this could benefit more value-orientated names. A
move to such companies helped limit the Dow's weekly decline.
One of the more prominent momentum names, Netflix Inc
, continued its downward trend, slipping 0.5 percent to
$362.50. If the online movie renter closes lower on Friday, it
will have dropped for 16 of the last 18 session, a period over
which it has lost about a fifth of its value.
In the latest economic data, personal income and consumption
both rose 0.3 percent in February, the latest indication that
weak data earlier this year was due to bad weather rather than
U.S. consumer sentiment fell in March as consumers were less
hopeful about the prospects for the overall economy, according
to the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan's final March
reading on the overall index on consumer sentiment. While the
report was up by 0.1 from the preliminary read, it was also
slightly under expectations.
"Sentiment was off a bit, but still reasonably high, which
is encouraging," Ablin said. "It seems like we're getting past
weather issues, which will allow us to look at fundamentals
As the first quarter draws to a close, trading may be
influenced by "window dressing," when money managers adjust
positions to improve the look of their portfolios.
(Editing by Bernadette Baum)