U.S. stocks rise despite banking jitters

NEW YORK, March 24 (Xinhua) -- U.S. stocks finished higher in volatile trading on Friday despite worries about the health of the banking sector.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 132.28 points, or 0.41 percent, to 32,237.53. The S&P 500 added 22.27 points, or 0.56 percent, to 3,970.99. The Nasdaq Composite Index increased 36.56 points, or 0.31 percent, to 11,823.96.

Nine of the 11 primary S&P 500 sectors ended in green, with utilities and real estate up 3.12 percent and 2.57 percent, respectively, outpacing the rest. Consumer discretionary and financials declined 0.35 percent and 0.06 percent, respectively.

Banking sector remained a focus on Wall Street.

Shares of Deutsche Bank were under considerable pressure after a sudden jump in the cost of insuring against the risk of default of the troubled bank.

SPDR S&P Regional Banking ETF, however, rose 3.03 percent on Friday to finish the week up 1 percent.

Bank balance sheets continue to be a concern for investors, amid hawkish global central banks' response to persistent inflation pressures, analysts noted.

"As the Federal Reserve has increased interest rates, longer-term bonds purchased by banks have since declined in value, creating a headwind for the banking sector," said David Matzko, research analyst at LPL Financial.

For the week, the Dow climbed 1.2 percent, the S&P 500 rose 1.4 percent and the Nasdaq advanced 1.7 percent.

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