WALL STREET Stocks push higher as oil prices retreat



Investors hope the trading pattern is broken.
NEW YORK (AP) -- A welcome slide in oil prices set off a relief rally on Wall Street on Friday, with stocks posting a healthy advance as crude approached but then fell back from the $50-a-barrel mark. The major indexes all ended the week higher.
Stock investors seemed to regain some confidence as crude retreated from a record intraday high of $49.40 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange and closed down 84 cents at $47.86. Wall Street has struggled the past few weeks with fears that skyrocketing oil prices could spur inflation, raise consumer prices and put a large dent in third-quarter earnings reports.
But some of Friday's buying, which came on light volume, was also due to bargain hunting.
"Fundamentally, if you look at the profit picture and the economy, I'm not surprised we're getting a bounce off of our recent lows," said Joseph Battipaglia, chief investment officer at Ryan Beck & amp; Co. "Despite all the negatives with oil and terrorism, the market is trying to put in a stand here."
The Dow Jones industrial average was up 69.32, or 0.7 percent, at 10,110.14.
Broader stock indicators also moved posted solid gains. The Standard & amp; Poor's 500 index was up 7.12, or 0.6 percent, at 1,098.35, and the Nasdaq composite index gained 18.13, or 1 percent, to 1,838.02.
For the week, the Dow was up 2.9 percent, the S & amp;P 500 rose 3.2 percent, and the Nasdaq jumped 4.6 percent. It was the second straight up week for the Dow and S & amp;P 500, and the Nasdaq reversed two weeks of losses.
Friday's trading continued the pattern of the past few weeks, with stocks falling as oil continued to climb and vice versa. With global demand growing, the recent threats against Iraq's oil infrastructure by insurgents have unnerved investors despite OPEC's promises to increase production.
Copyright 2004 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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