The S&P 500 rose nearly 1% last week to 1,178.10, as the first quarter ended in a holiday-shortened week. The index rose 4.9% in the first quarter, marking its best first quarter since 1998. Last week brought greater confidence that the recovery is sustainable, after manufacturing activity climbed to its highest level since 2004. Gains in the energy sector also served to boost stocks last week, as crude oil jumped to a new 17-month high. Friday brought a positive jobs number for March -- the most jobs added in three years. But that data was not factored into stock trading because the U.S. markets were closed that day.

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



Percent Gain

Pioneer Natural Resources


Denbury Resources (NYSE: DNR)


CB Richard Ellis Group


Rowan Companies


Southwestern Energy (NYSE: SWN)


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



Percent Loss



Ford Motor (NYSE: F)


Lennar (NYSE: LEN)


PulteGroup (NYSE: PHM)


D.R. Horton (NYSE: DHI)


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

A closer look
Though it was a good week, it wasn't all rainbows and butterflies. Defense contractor SAIC finished down after reporting fourth-quarter results that fell short of analysts' expectations and lowering its guidance for the fiscal year. The lower outlook comes as the company encounters an unanticipated slowdown in the pace of new federal contract orders, coupled with curtailed government defense spending. SAIC says its federal services business is expected to see flat to declining growth. As such, the company said it's taking steps to invest in high-growth areas outside of its core defense business, like cyber security and energy efficiency.

Ford shares also slipped after a warrant sale by the United Auto Workers to fund the union's medical trust diluted shares outstanding. The dilution overshadowed other positive news for the automaker, including its sale of Volvo to China's Zhejiang Geely for $1.8 billion. Ford also reported a 43% increase in March sales year over year, and said its market share increased for the 17th month in the past 18 months.

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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. Ford Motor is a Stock Advisor choice. The Fool owns shares of Denbury Resources and has a disclosure policy.