May 10, 2013 / 7:11 PM / in 5 years

US STOCKS-S&P 500, Nasdaq rise; market eyes 3rd week of gains

* Priceline helps the S&P 500

* Energy shares weak as crude prices slide

* Tesla shares rally for second day

* Dow down 0.1 pct, S&P 500 up 0.1 pct, Nasdaq up 0.6 pct

By Caroline Valetkevitch

NEW YORK, May 10 (Reuters) - The S&P 500 and Nasdaq rose modestly on Friday and indexes were on track for a third week of gains as an earnings-driven rally in Priceline’s stock helped offset a slide in energy shares.

Shares of Priceline jumped 3.7 percent to $764.90 and gave the biggest boost to the S&P 500, a day after the online travel company reported a first-quarter profit that topped estimates.

It was among several stronger-than-expected profit reports this week that have helped stocks, despite coming near the end of the first-quarter earnings period.

Friday’s modest advance followed Thursday’s losses, which resulted in the S&P 500 breaking a five-day streak of record closing highs.

“Today it’s trying to get some stability from yesterday,” said Alan Lancz, president of Alan B. Lancz & Associates Inc., an investment advisory firm in Toledo, Ohio.

Analysts said stocks could keep rising, considering the Federal Reserve’s accommodative monetary environment and encouraging signs in labor market data, including Thursday’s jobless claims numbers and last week’s payrolls report.

Oil and gold prices tumbled as the U.S. dollar hit a 4-1/2 year-high against the yen and the dollar index was on track to post its strongest week in 10 months, making commodities more expensive for holders of different currencies and weighing on shares in the energy and basic materials sectors.

Exxon Mobil lost 1.2 percent to $89.98 and dragged on the Dow. The S&P energy index dropped 0.8 percent as Brent and U.S. crude oil prices fell. The S&P materials index slipped 0.3 percent.

The Dow Jones industrial average was down 8.10 points, or 0.05 percent, at 15,074.52. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index was up 2.26 points, or 0.14 percent, at 1,628.93. The Nasdaq Composite Index was up 20.31 points, or 0.60 percent, at 3,429.48.

For the week, the Dow is up 0.7 percent, the S&P 500 is up 0.9 percent and the Nasdaq is up 1.5 percent. This would be the third straight week of gains for all three indexes.

Shares of electric carmaker Tesla Motors jumped 10.7 percent to $76.77, adding to Thursday’s gain of 24.4 percent and making it one of the Nasdaq’s top percentage gainers.

Tesla is part of a group of companies with heavy bets against them from investors. Recent upbeat results have triggered a wave of short covering.

In contrast, shares of Hess Corp slid 2.1 percent to $69.47. Its chief executive John Hess, son of the company’s founder, is being stripped of his chairman duties as the oil and gas company scrambles to avoid an embarrassing defeat by an activist investor.

Rare earths producer Molycorp Inc reported a first-quarter loss that widened from the previous year, though revenue rose sharply, driving its stock up 29.3 percent to $7.24.

Pain Therapeutics Inc shares plummeted 48.9 percent to $2.72 after the company said that Pfizer Inc, its marketing partner for painkiller Remoxy, has yet to decide on continuing to seek regulatory approval for the drug.

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