Stocks Edge Higher, Snapping a 5-Day Losing Streak for Dow
Materials companies led U.S. stocks modestly higher Friday, recouping much of the market’s loss from a day earlier and snapping a 5-day losing streak for the Dow Jones industrial average.
Another crop of encouraging company earnings news helped lift the market, but investors were mostly focused on events in Washington as Donald Trump was sworn in as the 45th president of the United States.
The major stock indexes pulled back slightly as Trump delivered remarks after taking the oath of office. Among topics of particular interest to Wall Street, the speech touched on trade and the Trump administration’s intention of protecting the U.S. from “the ravages of other countries making our products, stealing our companies, and destroying our jobs.”
“The market is still embracing the Trump agenda, based on the market’s reaction to the speech,” said Quincy Krosby, market strategist at Prudential Financial. “Now the question the market has is, specifically, what does all of that mean in terms of trade?”
The Dow rose 94.85 points, or 0.5 percent, to 19,827.25. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index gained 7.62 points, or 0.3 percent, to 2,271.31. The Nasdaq composite index added 15.25 points, or 0.3 percent, to 5,555.33.
Despite Friday’s gains, the three major stock indexes ended the week lower.
Stocks have slowed in 2017 after surging for several weeks following Election Day on investor optimism that a Trump administration and Republican Congress would usher in business-friendly policies. But the possibility of increased tariffs or trade restrictions has also loomed as a potential drag in profits for big U.S. companies.
“Historically, the market has performed best in the November-April time frame,” said Sam Stovall, chief investment strategist at CFRA Research. “The Trump victory added a tailwind to this traditional seasonal factor.”
Typically, stocks don’t do well on inauguration day. Going back to 1928, the S&P has averaged a drop of 1.05 percent on inauguration days, according Bespoke Investment Group.
Beyond the presidential transition in Washington, investors pored over the latest batch of corporate earnings Friday, bidding up shares in companies that reported results that beat Wall Street’s expectations.
Skyworks Solutions jumped 13 percent, the biggest gainer in the S&P 500. The stock climbed $10.21 to $88.67. Citizens Financial Group gained $1.09, or 3.1 percent, to $35.82.
Traders also drove up shares in Procter & Gamble after the consumer goods maker released a strong growth forecast. The stock added $2.75, or 3.2 percent, to $87.45.
Strong subscriber numbers helped lift AT&T, giving a boost to phone company stocks overall. AT&T added 45 cents, or 1.1 percent, to $41.45.
Some companies’ earnings failed to impress the market.
General Electric slid 2.2 percent after the conglomerate reported fourth-quarter revenue that fell short of analysts’ forecasts. The stock gave up 68 cents to $30.53.
Investors sold off Bristol-Myers Squibb after the drugmaker said it won’t pursue accelerated regulatory approval for a two-drug lung cancer treatment. The stock was the biggest decliner in the S&P 500 index, shedding $6.26, or 11.3 percent, to $49.23.
Major stock indexes overseas were mixed Friday.
Germany’s DAX rose 0.3 percent, while Britain’s FTSE 100 fell 0.1 percent. France’s CAC 40 added 0.2 percent. In Asia, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng shed 0.7 percent after the Chinese government said the economy grew at a 6.8 percent annual rate in the last quarter, even as full-year growth increased 6.7 percent, the weakest in three decades. Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 index rose 0.3 percent.
Benchmark U.S. crude rose $1.05, or 2 percent, to close at $52.42 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, added $1.33, or 2.5 percent, to close at $55.49 a barrel in London.
In other energy trading, wholesale gasoline gained 3 cents to $1.57 a gallon and heating oil rose 3 cents to $1.65 a gallon. Natural gas slid 16 cents, or 4.9 percent, to $3.20 per 1,000 cubic feet.
Bond prices were little changed. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note held steady at 2.47 percent. Yields have been rising as investors expect inflation to increase.
In currency trading, the dollar fell to 114.31 yen from Thursday’s 114.80 yen. The euro rose to $1.0707 from $1.0659. The British pound edged up to $1.2378 from $1.2337.
Gold dropped $3.40 to settle at $1,204.90 an ounce, while silver fell 3 cents to $17.03 an ounce. Copper slipped a penny to $2.63 a pound.
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