US STOCKS-Wall St bounces as Cyprus fears ease, Nike up

Source : REUTERS
Last Updated: Sat, Mar 23, 2013 04:20 hrs

* Cyprus says it is close to a bailout deal

* S&P 500 on track for second negative week of the year

* PepsiCo, Mondelez jump on report of activist investor stake

* Nike shares hit record, Micron at near two-year high

* Dow up 0.5 pct, S&P 500 up 0.5 pct, Nasdaq up 0.5 pct

By Caroline Valetkevitch

NEW YORK, March 22 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks rose on Friday as investors were optimistic that a deal to bail out Cyprus could be reached.

Nike shares jumped 12.4 percent to a record intraday high a day after the maker of athletic shoes and apparel posted results and lifted consumer discretionary stocks. The consumer discretionary sector index shot up 1 percent, leading the benchmark S&P 500's gains.

Cyprus was close to a deal to raise billions of euros and unlock a bailout from the European Union that could avert a financial meltdown and its exit from the euro, its ruling party said.

The FTSEurofirst-300 index of pan-European stocks dipped 0.1 percent, while Wall Street advanced in Friday's session. But the three major U.S. stock indexes were down for the week, with Cyprus weighing on markets since Monday.

The lingering concern among investors is that were Cyprus to leave the euro zone, it would open the door for other larger countries to follow suit and debilitate the bloc.

"If in fact the talk of departures from the euro were to get front and center, that could scare investors at the macro level, but it's unlikely the Cyprus thing turns into that," said Sandy Lincoln, chief market strategist at BMO Asset Management US in Chicago.

The Dow Jones industrial average was up 70.81 points, or 0.49 percent, at 14,492.30. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index was up 7.85 points, or 0.51 percent, at 1,553.65. The Nasdaq Composite Index was up 16.61 points, or 0.52 percent, at 3,239.20.

The S&P 500 is still on track to post only its second weekly decline so far this year. Although the index was down a modest 0.5 percent, it was also the largest weekly percentage decline since the last week of 2012.

Nike's shares hit an all-time intraday high at $60.23 a day after its quarterly profit beat Wall Street's expectations as margins increased and global future demand for its apparel and shoes rose. In late afternoon trading, the stock was up 11.2 percent at $59.60.

Tiffany & Co reported a slightly higher profit for the quarter that included the holiday season, and said the pace of its worldwide sales growth would pick up this year. Tiffany's stock gained 1.9 percent to $69.22.

Shares of food makers Mondelez International and PepsiCo rose on Friday after a UK newspaper reported that activist shareholder Nelson Peltz has been building stakes in both companies.

Mondelez rose 4.2 percent to $29.76. PepsiCo gained 3 percent to $78.45.

Micron Technology posted a quarterly net loss on Thursday, but the chipmaker said the outlook for memory chip prices is improving. The stock gained 11.6 percent to $10.12 after climbing intraday to $10.27 - its highest in almost two years.

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