* Biotech sector plunges in late afternoon
* Momentum stocks still in focus; Netflix falls
* Nasdaq posts worst week since October 2012
* Dow up 0.4 pct; S&P 500 up 0.5 pct; Nasdaq up 0.1 pct
(Updates to close)
By Angela Moon
NEW YORK, March 28 U.S. stocks ended up on
Friday but off their session highs as a late afternoon selloff
in the biotechnology sector weighed on the overall market.
The Nasdaq Composite Index fell nearly 3 percent for the
week, marking its worst week since October 2012.
The three major U.S. stock indexes had been significantly
higher in most of the morning and early afternoon trade
following comments from China's Premier Li Keqiang indicating
that the country's government was ready to take steps to support
its slowing economy.
But a 2.8 percent drop in the Nasdaq biotechnology index
led the major indexes to session lows. The biotech sector
index fell 7 percent for the week. With just one trading day
left in March, the index was down about 13 percent for the month
at Friday's close.
Gilead Sciences Inc shares fell 4.1 percent to end
at $68.55 and Biogen Idec shares lost 5 percent to
close at $294.12. The two stocks were among the S&P 500's
"The decline in biotech is part of the reallocation of
capital as we near the end of the quarter. It seems like they
are a bit out of favor right now, along with momentum stocks,"
said JJ Kinahan, chief strategist of TD Ameritrade in Chicago.
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 58.83 points or
0.36 percent, to end at 16,323.06. The S&P 500 gained
8.58 points or 0.46 percent, to finish at 1,857.62. The Nasdaq
Composite added 4.526 points or 0.11 percent, to close
For the week, the Dow rose 0.1 percent, while the S&P 500
was off 0.5 percent and the Nasdaq was down 2.8 percent.
The week's losses were concentrated in the Nasdaq as
investors took profit in some of the market's biggest
outperformers, mostly 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-oriented names. A
move to such companies helped limit the Dow's weekly decline.
Netflix Inc, one of the more prominent momentum
names, continued its downward trend, slipping 1.5 percent to
$358.87. The stock has dropped for 16 of the last 18 sessions,
losing about a fifth of its value over that period.
Red Hat Inc reported fourth-quarter earnings that
beat expectations late Thursday, though the open-source software
provider gave a full-year profit view that was below forecasts.
Red Hat's stock fell 6.9 percent to $52.23.
In the latest snapshot of the U.S. economy, personal income
and consumption both rose 0.3 percent in February, an indication
that weak data earlier this year was due to bad weather rather
than worsening fundamentals.
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 March read, it was
also slightly under expectations.
Volume of about 5.7 billion shares traded on U.S. exchanges,
below the 6.9 billion average so far this month, according to
data from BATS Global Markets.
Advancers outnumbered decliners on the New York Stock
Exchange by a ratio of 2.5 to 1. On the Nasdaq, there were 1,320
stocks that rose and 1,282 that fell.
(Editing by Jan Paschal)