NEW YORK, Mar. 21 -- The U.S. stocks rose on Friday as the Group of Seven (G-7) backed a plan to bring the Japanese yen down from post-war highs and banks were to restart dividends payments.
Finance officials from the G-7 agreed on a coordinated currency intervention to support Japan's economy after last Friday's devastating earthquake. It was the first time for the G7 countries to intervene in currency markets since the fall of 2000.
The market was also boosted by banking shares. The Federal Reserve said on Friday that it will allow some of the largest U.S. banks to boost or restart dividend payments this year. Investors were cheered by this announcement and banking shares were among the best performers on Friday.
Friday was also the day when stock index futures, stock index options, single stock options and single stock futures all expired.
During the trading week, the U.S. stocks were seriously impacted by the Japan disaster and nuclear problems. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index and the Nasdaq erased their gains for the year on Wednesday, when all three major indexes ended at their lowest levels of 2011.
After the big sell-off, the U.S. stocks rebounded on Thursday and closed higher in the last trading day of the week, thanks to the positive economic reports during the week.
Investors believed the economic reports suggested a strong economic recovery trend. The Labor Department said on Thursday the initial claims for state unemployment benefits fell by 16,000 to a seasonally adjusted 385,000.
Meanwhile, the Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank said on Thursday that manufacturing activity in the mid-Atlantic region increased for the fourth consecutive month in March.
Apart from Japan's situation, investors also worried that the unrest in Libya could add to uncertainty in the market.
The Dow Jones industrial average advanced 83.93 points, or 0.71 percent, to 11,858.52. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index gained 5.49 points, or 0.43 percent, to 1,279.21. The Nasdaq increased 7.62 points, or 0.29 percent, to 2,643.67.