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US stocks finish mostly higher, posting solid weekly gains

Wall Street stocks finished mostly higher Friday, concluding a positive week amid optimism about the reopening of the US economy and progress on a coronavirus vaccine.

The tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index led the market, gaining 0.4 percent to finish at 9,324.59, an increase of more than 3.4 percent for the week.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average shed less than 0.1 percent to 24,465.16, while the broad-based S&P 500 added 0.2 percent at 2,955.45.

Analysts pointed to a number of major announcements on investments and early research that has built confidence that the virus can be countered with a vaccine, even though the timeframe for getting one is not clear.

Investors have also greeted gradual steps by states to reopen their economies. On Friday, Texas expanded capacity at restaurants to 50 percent from 25 percent and opened bowling alleys, bingo halls and other venues.

Investors largely shrugged off escalating rhetoric between Beijing and Washington.

The US announced sanctions against a Chinese government institute and eight companies for human rights violations following China's move to impose a national security law to quash the pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong.

While market watchers expect US President Donald Trump to continue to attack China as his re-election campaign heats up, investors are skeptical he will take action that threatens the trade detente with Beijing.

Adding tariffs on Chinese goods would hit US consumers and "the market is skeptical Trump will risk that before November," said Gregori Volokhine of Meeschaert Financial Services.

US markets will be closed Monday for the Memorial Day holiday.