United States stocks end weak quarter on upbeat note

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The S&P 500 index rose 35.87 points, or 1.4 percent, to 2,640.87. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 104 points, or 0.4%, to 23,952.

The financial group finished a step behind the benchmark index, adding 1.3%, as Treasury yields fell; the benchmark 10-year yield slipped 4 bps to 2.74%.

Shares of Facebook, Netflix (NFLX.O), Apple (AAPL.O) and Alphabet (GOOGL.O) were up between 0.68 percent and 1.6 percent in premarket trading, with Amazon the only laggard among the FAANG stocks.

The Dow is down 2.5 percent for the year, while the S&P 500 is off 1.2 percent.

Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a 3.66-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 2.23-to-1 ratio favored advancers.

The first three months of 2018 saw the re-emergence of volatility in USA stocks after a placid 2017, with prices charging higher in January amid enthusiasm over U.S. tax cuts, but dropping in February on worries about higher inflation and enduring more pressure in March over fears of a trade war.

GameStop shares dropped 9.3 percent after the company provided disappointing full-year sales forecast.

Sandven said the market's first-quarter performance has tempered expectations for the rest of the year after the market's strong start in January. The healthy income gains could spur more spending in the coming months.

"People should expect what's happening given the kind of volatility we've seen as well as the fact that we're kind of in a news vacuum prior to quarterly earnings", Chuck Carlson, chief executive at Horizon Investment Services in Hammond, Indiana, said.

The group is up 14 percent so far this year, but privacy concerns in the wake of Facebook's scandal almost two weeks back has wiped $400 billion off their value. The social media giant, which has taken a beating in recent days over privacy concerns, rose $6.76, to $159.79.

Wall Street's main indexes were set to open higher on Thursday as beaten-down technology stocks posted slim gains in a roller-coaster week for Wall Street.

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