United States stocks settle higher

Additionally, the CBOE Volatility Index VIX, +7.19% logged its second lowest quarterly closing level ever at 11.68, according to Dow Jones data, the only other quarter with a lower average was the fourth quarter of 2006.

The S&P 500 Information Technology Sector has gained almost 12.5% since January, making it the best-performing sector over the past three months. The Nasdaq composite turned in its best quarter since the end of 2013.

Dow Jones Industrial Average surged almost 70 points, aided by Goldman Sachs & United Health contributing the most to the gains. Real estate companies led the gainers.

"So the market is giving, in the short term, a very big thumbs down on it", Levine said. The S&P 500 etched a 0.1% gain - also a fifth straight advance. The Nasdaq was coming off its latest all-time high.

Cenovus slumped 13.7 percent as the DBRS rating agency placed the company under review for a possible credit rating downgrade. The 10-year Treasury yield fell to 2.39 per cent from 2.42 per cent late Thursday.

The stock market finished higher for the week and turned in solid gains for the quarter on Friday.

The Russell 2000 is up 28.79 points, or 2.1 percent.

USA stock indexes edged higher in early trading Thursday as investors weighed the latest batch of company earnings, deal news and economic data.

Wall Street's near-record valuations may be put to the test in the coming weeks as investors turn their attention to first quarter earnings. The S&P 500 backed off 0.2% and the Nasdaq gave up its earlier gains to close flat.

The market will be looking at quarterly earnings to see if the lofty valuations can be supported.

DIALED IN: BlackBerry surged 12.2 per cent after the company delivered a surprise fourth-quarter profit.

NantHealth didn't fare as well.

Wells Fargo & Co (NYSE: WFC) added 1.02%, First Horizon National Corp (NYSE: FHN) added 3% to $18.87.

Auto dealership companies were among the decliners Friday. CarMax slid 84 cents, or 1.4 per cent, to $59.22. As a result, the savings rate climbed to 5.6% from 5.4% the previous month.

DOUBLE DEAL: FMC has agreed to buy part of DuPont's crop protection business, while DuPont buys FMC's health and nutrition unit. Antitrust regulators in Europe wanted DuPont to make the sale as part of its combination with competitor Dow Chemical.

June gold which is now the most-active contract, fell $8.80, or 0.7%, to settle at $1,248 an ounce.

Major indexes overseas were mixed Friday. Based on this, the Dow could end up the week with a gain of around 0.6 percent in the current week.

"The core PCE price index slipped from 0.3% to 0.2% month-on-month, while personal spending and income fell to 0.1% and 0.4% respectively".

For the week, the blue-chip Dow rose 0.3 percent, and the broader S&P 500 gained 0.8 percent, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq jumped 1.4 percent.

Oil futures also posted an uneven finish.

The contract rose 84 cents on Thursday to close at $50.35.

The deal weighed on the overall energy group, which was down 2.6 per cent even as oil prices rose. Natural-gas prices, meanwhile, extended earlier declines after a weekly decline in domestic inventories of the fuel was in line with market expectations. Wholesale gasoline rose 2 cents to $1.70 per gallon and heating oil gained 2 cents to $1.57 per gallon. The DJIA is poised to add almost 5%, which would be its sixth-straight positive quarter and the longest winning streak since the fourth quarter of 2006.

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