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Wall St. ends up on hopes of a D.C. debt solution


NEW YORK (Reuters) — U.S. stocks rose on Friday, extending gains from a major rally in the previous session, as investors were hopeful for a solution to end the partial U.S. government shutdown and raise the U.S. borrowing limit to avoid a possible default.

The S&P 500, which jumped more than 2 percent on Thursday, ended above 1,700 for the first time since late September.

Buyers on Friday were motivated by the chance an agreement could come over the weekend. The Senate is expected to vote over the weekend on extending the federal debt limit through January 2015.

All S&P sectors were up except consumer staples, which fell slightly. Energy stocks led the S&P 500, rising more than 1 percent after the Environmental Protection Agency proposed lowering the required amount of ethanol to be blended into U.S. gasoline after Thursday’s market close.

The CBOE Volatility index VIX, Wall Street’s so-called fear gauge, closed down 4.6 percent at 15.72, the lowest in nearly two weeks.

The Dow Jones industrial average was up 111.04 points, or 0.73 percent, at 15,237.11. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index was up 10.63 points, or 0.63 percent, at 1,703.19. The Nasdaq Composite Index was up 31.13 points, or 0.83 percent, at 3,791.87.

For the week, the Dow rose 1.1 percent, the S&P 500 rose 0.7 percent while the Nasdaq fell 0.4 percent as some of the strongest gainers in the tech sector sold off during week as investors were taking profits.

JP Morgan Chase & Co., the biggest U.S. bank by assets, reported a rare quarterly loss after incurring $9.2 billion in legal expenses. Its shares seesawed throughout trading and ended flat at $52.51.

Wells Fargo & Co, the biggest U.S. mortgage lender, reported a 13 percent rise in third-quarter profit, but its mortgage banking income fell sharply as the refinancing boom began to fade. Wells Fargo shares also ended flat at $41.43.

Apparel chain Gap was down 6.7 percent to $36.83 a day after reporting net sales were flat compared with last year.

The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan index of consumer sentiment fell in October to its weakest in nine months and was below expectations.

Trading volume totaled about 4.8 billion shares on the New York Stock Exchange, the Nasdaq and the NYSE MKT, below the average daily closing volume of about 6 billion this year.

Both on the NYSE and the Nasdaq, advancing stocks outnumbered declining ones by a ratio of about 3 to 1.

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