U.S. stocks made gains on Friday, but not enough to overcome sharp losses over the week as the fallout from Japan's devastating earthquake and unrest in Libya roiled global markets.
The dollar rose sharply against the yen after Group of Seven (G7) finance ministers agreed on a coordinated currency intervention. The yen had climbed to unprecedented highs in the past week, as investors brought money back to Japan in anticipation of the recovery process from last week's 9.0 magnitude earthquake, tsunami and ensuing nuclear crisis.
U.S. share gains on Friday were led by banks as the Federal Reserve eased restrictions on some major financial firms that had been in place since the 2008 financial crisis. The central bank gave the green light for some of the top 19 banks to boost dividend payments to shareholders and buy back shares.
Libya meanwhile imposed a ceasefire in its crackdown on anti-government forces after the U.N. Security Council authorized the use of force to protect civilians, but reports on the ground suggested violence was ongoing. The US, European and Arab allies were preparing to impose a no-fly zone over Libya to halt the attacks.
The blue-chip Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 83.93 points, or 0.71 per cent, to 11,858.52. The broader Standard and Poor's 500 Index gained 5.49 points, or 0.43 per cent, to 1,279.21. The technology-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index added 7.62 points, or 0.29 per cent, to 2,643.67.
All three major Wall Street indices remained down for the week.
The Dow slid 1.54 per cent, the S&P 500 fell 1.92 per cent and the Nasdaq tumbled 2.65 per cent over the last five days.
The dollar rose against the Japanese currency to 80.62 yen from 78.87 yen on Thursday. The U.S. currency fell against the euro to 70.54 euro cents from 71.32 euro cents on Thursday.