U.S. stocks rise as market rally continues

U.S. stocks finished higher on Friday, building on the gains they scored in the prior session, as market optimism continued on Wall Street.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average increased 164.68 points, or 0.48 percent, to 34,200.67. The S&P 500 rose 15.05 points, or 0.36 percent, to 4,185.47. The Nasdaq Composite Index added 13.58 points, or 0.10 percent, to 14,052.34.

Nine of the 11 primary S&P 500 sectors ended in green, with materials up 1.18 percent, leading the gainers. Energy slipped 0.9 percent, the worst-performing group.

Morgan Stanley on Friday posted first-quarter profit and revenue that exceeded analysts’ expectations. However, the stock dipped nearly 2.8 percent.

U.S.-listed Chinese companies traded mostly higher with eight of the top 10 stocks by weight in the S&P U.S. Listed China 50 index ending the day on an upbeat note.

The above market reactions followed a record session on Wall Street, which saw the Dow end above the 34,000 milestone for the first time, buoyed by stronger-than-expected economic data.

On the data front, U.S. privately-owned housing starts surged 19.4 percent in March to a 1.74 million annualized rate, the Commerce of Department reported on Friday. The median estimate in a Bloomberg survey called for a 1.61 million pace.