March 16, 2018 / 7:33 PM / 8 months ago

US STOCKS-S&P advances on strong industrial output data

* Micron, Western Digital gain after Baird’s bullish note

* Adobe rises after strong results

* S&P energy index up 0.9 pct as oil prices jump

* Dow up 0.4 pct, S&P up 0.2 pct, Nasdaq flat (Updates to late afternoon)

By April Joyner

March 16 (Reuters) - The S&P and Dow Industrials rose on Friday as strong U.S. industrial output numbers boosted stocks across sectors, though equities were on track for overall losses this week.

February industrial production jumped 1.1 percent, the largest increase in four months.

Energy led the major sectors of the S&P 500 with a 0.9 percent gain, as oil prices rose by more than a dollar.

“Today, there are not a lot of headlines out of Washington, so the focus is more on the economy,” said Keith Lerner, chief market strategist at SunTrust Advisory Services in Atlanta.

Stocks were trading within a narrow range, Lerner said, as investors unwound positions in futures and options contracts expiring on Friday, in a phenomenon known as “quadruple-witching.”

The Nasdaq was barely changed during the session.

Friday’s gains come at the end of a rocky week, dominated by concerns of a U.S. trade war with China and political turmoil, which began with the ouster of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 101.62 points, or 0.41 percent, to 24,975.28, the S&P 500 gained 5.83 points, or 0.21 percent, to 2,753.16 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 0.31 points, or 0 percent, to 7,481.44.

Walmart Inc gained 2.9 percent and Home Depot Inc added 0.9 percent after the University of Michigan’s preliminary reading of its consumer sentiment index rose more than expected to 102.0.

Adobe Systems Inc was up 3.1 percent, hitting an all-time high during the session, after the Photoshop maker topped analysts’ profit and revenue estimates for the seventh straight quarter.

Micron Technology Inc rose 2.8 percent after Baird analysts raised its price target on the stock by $40 to $100. Western Digital Corp gained 4.3 percent, hitting a three-year high during the session, after Baird upgraded the stock’s rating to “outperform.”

Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a 2.01-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.48-to-1 ratio favored advancers.

The S&P 500 posted 24 new 52-week highs and three new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 161 new highs and 43 new lows. (Additional reporting by Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur)

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