The S&P 500 climbed a hefty 3% last week to 1,138.70, swinging back into the black for the year. A better-than-expected February jobs report coupled with upbeat economic data on the service sector and merger news earlier in the week all served to boost the index higher.

Pops and drops
Here are the five biggest S&P 500 upticks and five biggest S&P 500 drops of last week (measured Friday close to Friday close):

Winners on the week:


Percentage Gain on the Week

Novell (Nasdaq: NOVL)


Titanium Metals (NYSE: TIE)


Abercrombie & Fitch (NYSE: ANF)


AK Steel Holding (NYSE: AKS)


Massey Energy (NYSE: MEE)


Source: Capital IQ (a division of Standard & Poor's).

Losers on the week:


Percentage Loss on the Week

Staples (Nasdaq: SPLS)


H&R Block


Frontier Communications


International Game Technology




Source: Capital IQ (a division of Standard & Poor's).

Proof behind the market’s aggregate upward move
Shares of Novell spiked last week after hedge fund Elliott Associates made a $1.8 billion buyout offer for the 91.5% of the software company it doesn’t own. At $5.75 per share, the offer represented a 49% premium over Novell’s closing price last Tuesday (the day the offer was made). But shares have risen above the bid price since then, which -- as my Foolish colleague Anders Bylund writes -- could indicate that investors expect a richer buyout offer.

Meanwhile, Abercrombie & Fitch managed to post a 5% gain in same-store sales for the month of February. Investors cheered the news, not only because the teen retailer beat the consensus forecast for a decline of 6.9%, but also because Abercrombie has lagged its peer group throughout the downturn and anemic recovery. But before you rejoice, recall that the retailer was up against easy year-over-year comparisons. Last February, comps plunged 30%.

It wasn’t all good news last week, though. Shares of Staples took a beating after the office-supplies store issued a weaker-than-expected outlook for 2010 and Goldman Sachs downgraded the stock to “neutral,” stating there wasn’t much upside for the stock in the near term.

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Fool contributor Jennifer Schonberger does not own shares of any of the companies mentioned in this article. You can follow her on Twitter. SAIC is a Motley Fool Inside Value recommendation. Staples and Titanium Metals are Motley Fool Stock Advisor choices. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.