S&P 500 nears record early Friday

Symantec, Nike

Media General Inc. rallied 4.4 percent after agreeing to buy LIN Media LLC in a deal valued at about $1.6 billion. Symantec Corp. slumped 13 percent after the maker of anti-virus software fired its chief executive officer. Nike Inc. slid 3.1 percent after the world’s largest sporting-goods manufacturer forecast that sales will climb at a slower pace than analysts had predicted.

Developing-market equities headed for a weekly gain of 0.9 percent, paring their losses this year to 5.6 percent. The benchmark trades at a price-to-book ratio of 1.4, its cheapest level versus the MSCI World Index since 2004.

Chinese shares rallied amid speculation the government is loosening funding restrictions for property developers and banks to support growth. The Shanghai Composite Index climbed 2.7 percent, its biggest gain in four months.

European Equities

The Stoxx Europe 600 Index gained 0.3 percent percent. The gauge is poised for its biggest weekly advance in five weeks.

The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index, which monitors the U.S. currency against its 10 major counterparts, retreated 0.2 percent. The index is headed for its biggest weekly gain in two months amid bets the Fed is moving toward raising interest rates.

The Australian dollar rose against all of its 16 major peers on speculation the country’s growth will defy a slowdown in China. It strengthened 0.6 percent to 90.89 U.S. cents today.

Gold advanced for the first time in five days, rising 0.5 percent to $1,336.80 an ounce. Bullion slumped this week after reaching a six-month high on March 17 amid turmoil over Ukraine.

Oil rose 1.1 percent to $99.97 a barrel. Futures are down 1.4 percent this week.

Copper gained 0.9 percent, heading for its first weekly increase since Feb. 14. The metal has dropped this month on concern demand from top consumer China is poised to slow and as the Fed continued to trim its bond-buying program and signal higher interest rates.

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