By Stan Choe and Alex Veiga

Updated 4:54 pm ET

Tech has remained remarkably resilient through the pandemic and continued to churn out big profits as work-from-home and other tech-friendly trends accelerate. Apple, which this week became the first U.S. company to have a market value of more than $2 trillion, rose 5.2 percent.

Big tech stocks, which generally have strong balance sheets and deliver strong growth, will likely continue to be attractive to investors as long as there are questions about economic growth, said Krosby.

"One of the most important factors in this market and for the broadening of the market in order to include those names that have not participated is: You want to see the unemployment landscape heal, and you want to see those initial unemployment claims come down," she said. "That's a major focus for analysts because we're a consumer-led economy. People need jobs in order to consume."

Deere was another big winner after it reported profit for the latest quarter that was double what Wall Street expected. Its shares rose 4.4 percent.

The Federal Reserve is continuing to prop up markets and the economy by keeping interest rates at nearly zero and buying reams of bonds. But stimulus from Congress has lapsed, and Democrats and Republicans on Capitol Hill continue to haggle.

Investors say the economy and markets need another round of big support from Congress for the recovery to continue.

"Ultimately, it will take some combination of bad data, bad markets and good politics to break the impasse," economist Ethan Harris wrote in a BofA Global Research report. "Meanwhile, every passing week without meaningful legislation lengthens the mini-recession. This is not the kind of August break this economy needs."

Beyond Capitol Hill, investors are also waiting for the latest developments in the rising tensions between the world's two largest economies.

China's Commerce Ministry on Thursday said that Chinese and U.S. trade envoys will hold a meeting by phone "in the near future" to discuss an agreement aimed at resolving their tariff war. No details on timing were given.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury dipped to 0.63 percent from 0.64 percent late Thursday.

In European stock markets, Germany's DAX slipped 0.5 percent. France's CAC 40 fell 0.3 percent, while the FTSE 100 in London lost 0.2 percent.

Earlier, Asian markets closed higher. Japan's Nikkei 225 gained 0.2 percent, South Korea's Kospi rose 1.3 percent and Hong Kong's Hang Seng added 1.3 percent.

Benchmark U.S. crude oil fell 48 cents to settle at $42.34 per barrel. Brent crude, the international standard, lost 55 cents to $44.35 per barrel.


AP Business Writer Yuri Kageyama contributed.

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