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By The Associated Press
Saturday, Feb. 15, 2014, 12:01 a.m.
 

NEW YORK — The stock market closed out its best week of the year on Friday as investors focused on company earnings and brushed off another weak economic report.

Campbell Soup climbed as it reported earnings that beat the estimates of Wall Street analysts.

Cliffs Natural Resources, a mining company, jumped as its earnings beat analysts' expectations and the company named a chief executive officer.

The Standard & Poor's 500 has wiped out almost all of its loss for the year from a big slump in January, and is now just 10 points below its record close of 1,848 reached on Jan. 15. Stocks slumped last month because of concerns about the outlook for growth in China and other emerging markets and worries about the health of the U.S. economy.

“For all practical purposes, we're back,” said Jonathan Golub, chief U.S. market strategist at RBC Capital Markets. “We've effectively recovered this pullback.”

The S&P 500 rose 8.80 points, or 0.5 percent, to 1,838.63. For the week, the index rose 2.3 percent.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 126.80 points, or 0.8 percent, to 16,154.39. The Nasdaq composite rose 3.35 points, or 0.1 percent, to 4,244.03, its highest close since July 2000.

The stock market got a lift on Tuesday when Janet Yellen, the new head of the Federal Reserve, said she would continue the central bank's low-interest rate policies and as Congress moved toward raising the nation's borrowing limit without the political drama of last year.

The stock market started lower on Friday with news that factory output fell sharply in January. Manufacturers made fewer cars and trucks, appliances, furniture and carpeting, as the recent cold spell ended five straight months of increased production.

The Federal Reserve said factory production plunged 0.8 percent in January, following gains of 0.3 percent in both December and November.

Investors are hopeful that much of the weakness seen in recent economic reports is due in large part to the unusually cold winter weather this year, said Kristina Hooper, U.S. investment strategist at Allianz Global Investors.

“Investors are choosing to look at very mixed data through a positive lens,” Hooper said.

In government bond trading, the yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 2.75 percent from 2.73 percent Thursday.

U.S. financial markets will be closed Monday for Presidents' Day.

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