Worst stock week of year ends with bargain hunting

U.S. stocks rose Friday on a round of bargain hunting and a surge in energy shares, curbing what still turned out to be the worst week of the year for two stock benchmarks.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 34.59 points, or 0.3 percent, to 13,080.73. The S&P 500 gained 4.33 points, or 0.3 percent, to 1,397.11. The Nasdaq Composite rose 4.60 points, or 0.2 percent, to 3,067.92.

The higher close ended a three-day losing streak for the Dow and S&P 500.

Still, the Dow and the S&P 500 notched their worst week of the year, falling 1.2 percent and 0.5 percent, respectively. The Nasdaq rose 0.4 percent for the week.

“I think today is more about portfolios that have missed this rally and are looking to get in on a dip,” said Jim Paulsen, chief investment strategist at Wells Capital Management.

Plus, a drop in the dollar “reignited some dollar-sensitive sectors, such as oil, basic materials,” and industrials sensitive to international revenues, he said.

On the Dow, equipment maker Caterpillar Inc. and oil conglomerate Chevron Corp. contributed the most to the index’s point gain on Friday.

IRS auditors concentrating on tax returns of millionaires

Attention, millionaires, the watchful eye of the Internal Revenue Service is trained on you. During last year’s tax season, 30 percent of multimillionaires were audited, the agency said. Overall, just 1.1 percent of individual income tax returns were checked.

Taxpayers making an adjusted gross annual income of $10 million or more are increasingly on the IRS’ radar — in 2010, just 18 percent of them faced audits, according to a report from the agency. Nearly 21 percent of Americans making between $5 million and $10 million had their returns inspected, the IRS said; 12 percent of millionaires making less underwent the same process.

From Oct. 1, 2010, through Sept. 30, 2011, the agency said it collected $2.4 trillion in taxes from 234 million processed returns, up from the $2.3 trillion collected the year before. It was the first year of increased revenue since 2008.

The IRS said more than 133 million tax returns — including more than three-quarters of all individual returns — were filed online. More than eight in 10 individual returns resulted in refunds , a total payout of $338 billion (among all tax returns, nearly $415.9 billion was refunded).

Nearly 4,700 criminal investigations were completed last year, the agency said, with 1,802 resulting in incarcerations.

Wendy’s using more humane methods in animal handling

Fast-food chain Wendy’s Co. is trying to be more humane to the chickens and pigs it uses in its food.

The company’s animal welfare council said Friday that one of its chicken suppliers, O.K. Foods Inc. of Ft. Smith, Ark., has started using a low-atmospheric pressure system that renders the chickens unconscious before the birds are handled by plant workers. The process, known as LAPS, replaces the industry standard practice of stunning chickens with electricity.

Wendy’s said it is the first quick-service restaurant chain to back the system, which it deemed a major improvement to industry standards.

— From news service reports