Chipmaker deal helps Wall St. rebound, oil slumps anew

Fri Mar 27, 2015 5:20pm EDT
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By Michael Connor

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Wall Street on Friday closed higher for the first time in a week, lifted by rising tech stocks, while oil prices slumped 5 percent on receding fears about Middle East fighting disrupting supplies.

U.S. Treasury debt prices jumped on government data indicating U.S. economic growth was slowing and the dollar was down, while gold had its first losing day after a seven-session rally.

The major U.S. stock indexes snapped a four-day losing streak after the Wall Street Journal reported chipmaker Intel Corp (INTC.O: Quote) is in talks to buy rival Altera Corp ALTR.O. Chipmakers bounced, led by a 28 percent gain in Altera.

"We've seen a lot of M&A news recently and it’s helping the market," said Stephen Massocca, chief investment officer at Wedbush Equity Management LLC in San Francisco. "There is definitely an M&A cycle going on, so that is a good thing."

For the week, however, the Dow lost 2.3 percent, the S&P 500 declined 2.2 percent, and the Nasdaq was off 2.7 percent.

Oil investors' worries diminished about the conflict in Yemen, which is close to a major chokepoint for oil tankers, and focused on new supplies possibly coming to market after any Iranian nuclear deal.

U.S. crude CLc1 closed off 5 percent at $48.87 a barrel while Brent LCOc1 ended down 4.7 percent at $56.41. [O/R]

But oil prices still notched their second straight weekly gain, boosted by the dollar's recent weakness after a year-long rally.   Continued...

A trader works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange March 26, 2015. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid