Stocks end week on slight uptick

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - BUSINESS & FARM - MAR­KET RE­PORT ALEX VEIGA

Gains among tech­nol­ogy com­pa­nies helped snap a three-day los­ing streak for U.S. stocks Fri­day, though the mar­ket ended with its worst weekly loss since March.

The mod­est re­bound came at the end of a tur­bu­lent week on Wall Street as es­ca­lat­ing ten­sions be­tween the U.S. and North Korea rat­tled global mar­kets.

In the first four days of the week, the Stan­dard & Poor’s 500 in­dex swung from mark­ing its lat­est record high to post­ing its big­gest sin­gle-day drop in nearly three months.

The neg­a­tive head­lines pro­vided many in­vestors with an op­por­tu­nity to pocket some of their re­cent gains fol­low­ing a string of record highs fu­eled by strong cor­po­rate earn­ings.

“It’s been a bit of a roller coaster this week, with all the rhetoric be­tween the U.S. and North Korea,” said Jeff Kravetz, re­gional in­vest­ment strate­gist at U.S. Bank Wealth Man­age­ment. “That did tem­po­rar­ily shake in­vestors’ com­pla­cency, but we think mar­kets are ready to move higher in the back half of the year, and earn­ings and eco­nomic data are go­ing to drive that.”

On Fri­day, the S&P 500 rose 3.11 points, or 0.1 per­cent, to 2,441.32. The in­dex had its big­gest drop since mid-May a day ear­lier. The Dow Jones in­dus­trial av­er­age gained 14.31 points, or 0.1 per­cent, to 21,858.32. The Nas­daq added 39.68 points, or 0.6 per­cent, to 6,256.56. The Rus­sell 2000 in­dex of smaller-com­pany stocks picked up 1.69 points, or 0.1 per­cent, to 1,374.23.

The re­cov­ery fit a re­cent pat­tern of in­vestors us­ing dips to put more money in stocks.

De­spite the past week’s de­cline, the ma­jor in­dexes are in pos­i­tive ter­ri­tory so far this year, led by the Nas­daq, which is up 16.2 per­cent. The S&P 500 is up 9 per­cent, while the Dow is up 10.6 per­cent.

“If you strip away what’s go­ing on in North Korea, and if you strip away what’s go­ing on in Washington, which are things that are tougher to pre­dict, the econ­omy, the global re­cov­ery, earn­ings, it all paints a very pos­i­tive picture for the rest of the year,” Kravetz said.

There were fewer signs of anx­ious­ness in the mar­kets Fri­day. Bond and gold prices, tra­di­tional havens for ner­vous in­vestors, were lit­tle changed, and the VIX, a mea­sure of how much vo­latil­ity in­vestors ex­pect in stocks, fell 3.3 per­cent fol­low­ing a 44.4 per­cent jump the day be­fore. It’s still the high­est it’s been since May.

In­vestors also drew some en­cour­age­ment from new gov­ern­ment data show­ing U.S. in­fla­tion at the con­sumer level inched higher last month. July’s 0.1 per­cent in­crease in con­sumer prices sug­gests that the Fed­eral Re­serve may be less likely to raise in­ter­est rates next month.

In­fla­tion has risen 1.7 per­cent over the past 12 months, sug­gest­ing that in­fla­tion pres­sures re­main well un­der con­trol. The Fed, which raised its key in­ter­est rate in March and June, has sig­naled it plans a third rate in­crease be­fore the end of this year. But some econ­o­mists say the Fed may stand pat for the rest of 2017 un­less in­fla­tion ac­cel­er­ates in com­ing months.

Bond prices rose. The yield on the 10-year Trea­sury note slipped to 2.19 per­cent from 2.20 per­cent late Thurs­day.

Bench­mark U.S. crude rose 23 cents to set­tle at $48.82 a bar­rel on the on the New York Mer­can­tile Ex­change. Brent crude, used to price in­ter­na­tional oils, rose 20 cents to $52.10 a bar­rel in Lon­don.

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