U.S. stocks advanced, with the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index heading toward its biggest weekly gain since early October, as Nike Inc. plans a $ 12 billion stock buyback and European Central Bank President Mario Draghi hinted at additional stimulus.
The S&P 500 added 0.4 percent to 2,089.65 at 9:32 a.m. in New York, after trading Thursday in the narrowest range in six months.
The S&P 500 was up 2.9 percent this week through Thursday, rebounding from its worst weekly decline in almost three months. Minutes from the Fed’s last meeting released Wednesday stressed that the pace of any interest-rate increases will be gradual, reassuring investors that higher borrowing costs won’t derail economic growth.
The earnings season is drawing to a close, with 96 percent of companies in the S&P 500 having reported. Of those, 75 percent beat earnings estimates, while only 44 percent exceeded sales forecasts. Analysts project profits for index members dropped 3.7 percent in the third quarter, compared with for a 7.2 percent decline at the start of the season.