* Nike rises after results, outlook
* Biotechs on track for eighth straight advance
* Indexes up: Dow 1.08 pct, S&P 0.98 pct, Nasdaq 0.87 pct (Updates to late morning)
By Chuck Mikolajczak
March 20 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks rose on Friday, lifted by results from Nike and another climb in biotechs, as investors assessed the impact of a stronger dollar on corporate profits.
Nike jumped 4.5 percent to $102.77 as the biggest boost to the Dow after it posted a quarterly profit that beat market estimates. The world’s largest sportswear maker sold more higher margin shoes and apparel, but warned that the stronger dollar would take a toll on its current quarter.
“A strong dollar isn’t this great boogeyman and it indicates there is an improving economy,” said Tim Ghriskey, chief investment officer of Solaris Group in Bedford Hills, New York.
“The reaction to Nike has been positive and the stock is up nicely, it has been a strong name but currency is going to have an impact.”
Biotechs were on track for their eighth straight advance, powered by a 7.1 percent climb in Biogen Idec to $464.26. The company said its experimental drug became the first Alzheimer’s treatment to significantly slow cognitive decline and reduce brain plaque in patients with early and mild forms of the disease, according to a small study. The Nasdaq biotech index has gained 7.3 percent since March 10.
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 194.38 points, or 1.08 percent, to 18,153.41, the S&P 500 gained 20.42 points, or 0.98 percent, to 2,109.69 and the Nasdaq Composite added 43.41 points, or 0.87 percent, to 5,035.79.
The S&P 500 is up 2.8 percent for the week and is on track for its first weekly gain in four. The Dow is up 2.3 percent while the Nasdaq is up 3.4 percent for the week.
The market may see heightened volatility heading into the close as a result of quadruple witching - the expiration of stock options, index options, index futures and single-stock futures.
Olive Garden owner Darden Restaurants reported a quarterly profit above analysts’ estimates due to cost-cutting and better-than-expected sales at its chains such as LongHorn Steakhouse and Yard House. Its shares climbed 3.7 percent to $67.30.
But Tiffany & Co. shares lost 3.3 percent to $83.50 after the upscale jeweler’s quarterly sales fell for the first time in five years and are expected to decline further in the current quarter, hurt by the strong dollar.
The dollar was off 1 percent against a basket of major currencies and was on track for its first weekly decline in five.
Simon Property Group, the No.1 U.S. mall owner, raised its offer for Macerich Co three days after its smaller rival rejected its earlier offer, adopted a poison pill and changed board structure to prevent a hostile takeover. Simon Property advanced 1.7 percent to $195.27 while Macerich lost 4.4 percent to $89.40.
Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by 2,498 to 500, for a 5.00-to-1 ratio; on the Nasdaq, 1,712 issues rose and 903 fell for a 1.90-to-1 ratio favoring advancers.
The benchmark S&P 500 index was posting 65 new 52-week highs and no new lows; the Nasdaq Composite was recording 153 new highs and 16 new lows. (Editing by Bernadette Baum)