USA stocks rally as banks gain, oil prices rise

DIALED IN: BlackBerry surged 15 per cent after the company delivered a surprise fourth-quarter profit. Brent crude, used to price worldwide oils, added 12 cents to $53.25.

USA stock indexes closed slightly lower Friday after a day of mostly listless trading.

Ten-year Treasury yields rose above 2.41 percent.

"The market has performed very well", Krosby said.

The most influential movers on the index included Royal Bank of Canada, which fell 0.5 per cent to $97.39, and Bank of Nova Scotia, which declined 0.8 per cent to $78.01. The stock shed 13 cents to $4.96. European stock markets traded in narrow ranges Friday, March 31, 2017, though trading has the potential to become quite volatile in the hours before the first quarter of the year ends.

Elsewhere in the financial sector, Toronto-Dominion Bank's chief executive officer told shareholders at the bank's annual meeting that it does not have a "widespread problem" with its sales practices, responding to a report staffers were pressured to meet targets.

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All the three major indexes were also weighed down by a 0.4 percent drop in Apple's AAPL.O shares to $143.54.

The modest loss for financials came as data showed that the USA economy grew at a faster pace in the fourth quarter than previously estimated.

Stocks in general have benefited from the recent "Trump rally", which pushed stocks higher during the first three months of the year.

U.S. stocks pushed higher as the latest USA economic data showed the economy started 2017 at a strong lick. The Standard & Poor's 500 index fell 1 point, or 0.1 per cent, to 2,366. Gold prices fell adding to a monthly loss, as the US dollar regained its footing above a key technical level and equities traded mostly higher, drawing some investor attention away from the precious metal.

The U.S. Commerce Department's third estimate of fourth-quarter GDP is expected to show that the economy grew at a 2.0 percent pace, instead of the previously reported 1.9 percent. The health care information technology company slid 2.7 per cent after it reported disappointing fourth-quarter revenue.

"It's not just the USA economy, but we do see definitely improvement throughout the world", Cavanaugh said.

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Small-company stocks fared better than the rest of the market. May Brent crude on London's ICE Futures exchange rose 54 cents, or 1%, to $52.96, with the contract set to expire at Friday's settlement.

The defensive utilities sector was the worst-performing group, falling 0.7 per cent.

Also with earnings today is science Applications International Corp (NYSE: SAIC), which Wall Street expects to report quarterly earnings at $0.78 per share on revenue of $1.09nbn before the bell.

The S&P 500 is up 123.89 points, or 5.5 percent. Investors had their eye on several corporate deals and new economic data on consumer spending and inflation.

The market will be looking at quarterly earnings to see if the lofty valuations can be supported. Industrials fell 0.1 per cent.

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