US stocks snap 4-day slide

NEW YORK (AFP) - Wall Street stocks rose Friday, snapping a four-day losing streak as traders shrugged off weaker-than-expected US economic growth in the fourth quarter.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 34.43 points (0.19 per cent) at 17,712.66.

The broad-based S&P 500 rose 4.87 (0.24 per cent) to 2,061.02, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index gained 27.86 (0.57 per cent) at 4,891.22.

US economic growth came in at an annual rate of 2.2 per cent for the final quarter of 2014, less than the 2.4 per cent projected by analysts and unchanged from the prior estimate, according to Commerce Department data.

US stocks fell the first four days of the week on worries about the crisis in Yemen and excessive equity valuations.

"We had so many down days that the market is due for some sort of a pause, but there is nothing really positive or encouraging to help push prices meaningfully higher," said Sam Stovall, chief investment strategist at S&P Capital IQ.

Chipmaker Altera surged 28.4 per cent after The Wall Street Journal reported it is in talks to be acquired by chip giant Intel. Dow member Intel rose 6.4 per cent.

Dow Chemical rose 2.8 per cent on news it will separate its chlor-alkali and derivatives business and merge them with chemical company Olin.

The deal is worth US$5 billion (S$6.8 billion) to Dow, including US$2 billion in cash and US$2.2 billion in Olin stock. Olin jumped 14 per cent.

Cruise line Carnival bolted 6.1 per cent higher as it reported earnings of US$49 million for the quarter ending Feb 28, compared with a loss of US$20 million a year ago, thanks in part to lower fuel prices. Carnival also announced it ordered nine new cruise ships from shipbuilders in Germany and Italy.

Royal Caribbean Cruises rose 6.5 per cent and Norwegian Cruise Line added 5.1 per cent.

Bond prices rose. The yield on the 10-year US Treasury fell to 1.96 per cent from 2 per cent Thursday, while the 30-year dipped to 2.53 per cent from 2.59 per cent. Bond prices and yields move inversely.