U.S. stocks booked their best weekly gains in several weeks, and the S&P 500 and Nasdaq finished at their highest levels since early October, as investors focused on progress on China trade talks and dismissed a batch of data that was less-than-stellar. The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended up 138 points, or 0.5%, at 25,849, finishing at its highest level since March 1. The S&P 500 index closed up 0.5% at 2,822, while the Nasdaq Composite Index finished up 0.8% at 7,688, with both indexes closed at their highest levels since Oct. 9. For the week, the Dow finished up 1.6%, marking its best weekly gain since Feb. 15, despite woes related to the groundings of Boeing 737 Max fleets that rattled the aviation and defense contractor’s shares. The S&P 500 recorded a weekly gain of 2.9%, while the Nasdaq registered a weekly climb of 3.8%, representing the best weekly advance for those benchmarks in about two months. Shares of Boeing , which had been a drag on the broader market all week, closed up 1.5%, reducing a weekly skid for the company to a decline of 10.3%. Market shook off lackluster economic reports to head higher, with the New York Fed’s Empire State index falling to a reading of 3.7 in March from 8.8 in the prior month, a near two-year low. U.S. industrial production rose by 0.1% in February, below the 0.4% increase expected by economists, according to a MarketWatch poll. January’s figure, however, was raised to show a 0.4% drop, rather than a 0.6% decline as previously estimated. On the bright side, job openings in the U.S. rose to 7.58 million in January, the third-highest level on record, according to the Labor Department, while consumer sentiment rose in March to 97.8 from 93.8 in February, according to a preliminary reading of the University of Michigan consumer sentiment index.
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