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U.S. stocks rose, sending the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index toward its best week in 2012, as investors awaited weekend discussions of European finance officials for news of a potential bailout of Spain.
Investors watched Europe’s attempts to tame its debt crisis. Spain is poised to become the fourth of the 17 euro-area countries to require emergency assistance as the currency bloc’s finance chiefs plan weekend talks on a potential aid request to shore up the nation’s lenders.
Earlier today, U.S. equities joined a global slump as German exports dropped in April for the first time this year as weaker global growth curbed demand. French business confidence and Italian output also declined. The trade deficit in the U.S. narrowed in April as a drop in imports overshadowed the first decline in exports in five months.
Telephone service providers and companies that sell consumer necessities gained today, while energy shares slumped. Wal-Mart Stores (WMT), the world’s largest retailer, rose 2.9 percent to $67.77. Intel (INTC), the biggest chipmaker, added 1.4 percent to $26.29.
Facebook rose 3.7 percent to $27.28. The social-networking company that held an initial public offering last month introduced an online directory for downloadable apps, taking a page from Apple Inc. and Google Inc.
McDonald’s (MCD) dropped 1 percent to $87.50. Sales at stores open at least 13 months rose 3.3 percent globally last month, falling short of analysts’ estimates, as sales declined in Japan and China. Analysts projected a gain of 5.2 percent, the average of 13 estimates compiled by Consensus Metrix.
Yum! Brands Inc., owner of the KFC and Pizza Hut restaurant brands, slumped 4.7 percent to $63.64 for the second-biggest decline in the S&P 500.
NetApp Inc. retreated 2.6 percent to $30.49. The seller of hardware and software for storing data was downgraded at Barclays Plc. The share-price estimate is $34.
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