Mar­ket ends week with more gains

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette - - Classified obituaries -

The As­so­ci­ated Press

NEW YORK — Stocks wrapped up an­other solid week Fri­day as in­dus­trial and en­ergy com­pa­nies ticked higher, but cor­po­rate earn­ings got off to a slug­gish start as re­ports from sev­eral ma­jor U.S. banks failed to ex­cite in­vestors.

In­dexes wob­bled in morn­ing trad­ing, but ris­ing oil prices helped en­ergy com­pa­nies, and de­fense con­trac­tors and ma­chin­ery mak­ers also rose. Con­sumer-fo­cused com­pa­nies like Ama­zon set record highs.

Wells Fargo skid­ded af­ter re­port­ing a drop in earn­ings as fall­out con­tin­ued from its phony ac­counts scan­dal. Cit­i­group also fell af­ter its rev­enue growth was weak. AT&T skid­ded af­ter the Jus­tice Depart­ment asked a court to over­turn the com­pany’s pur­chase of Time Warner.

In­vestors ex­pect an­other round of great profit growth this quar­ter, but they’re not sure about what will come next: the U.S. and China are in a trade war with­out any signs of res­o­lu­tion, midterm Con­gres­sional elec­tions are get­ting closer, and in­ter­est rates keep ris­ing. Paul Christo­pher, head of global mar­ket strat­egy for the Wells Fargo In­vest­ment In­sti­tute, said in­vestors will fo­cus on cor­po­rate fore­casts cov­er­ing the rest of the year.

“We think there will be a lot of at­ten­tion paid to the out­look,” he said. “We still think the econ­omy is re­ally what in­vestors should be watch­ing here, and we think it’s go­ing to be solid this year and again good next year.”

The S&P 500 in­dex edged up 3.02 points, or 0.1 per­cent, to 2,801.31. The Dow Jones In­dus­trial Av­er­age added 94.52 points, or 0.4 per­cent, to 25,019.41. The Nas­daq com­pos­ite set an­other record, just barely, as it rose 2.06 points to 7,825.98.

The Rus­sell 2000 in­dex of smaller-com­pany stocks fell 3.20 points, or 0.2 per­cent, to 1,687.08. More stocks fell than rose on the New York Stock Ex­change.

Ma­jor in­dexes rose for the sec­ond con­sec­u­tive week fol­low­ing mod­est losses over the pre­vi­ous two weeks. In­vestors con­tin­ued to wa­ver be­tween op­ti­mism about the grow­ing U.S. econ­omy, and the strong com­pany earn­ings that come with it, and wor­ries that the trade war and other com­mer­cial dis­putes could set back global eco­nomic growth.

Wells Fargo, the largest U.S. mort­gage lender, posted a smaller profit than an­a­lysts ex­pected. Its stock gave up 1.2 per­cent to $55.36. Citi fell 2.2 per­cent to $67 and JPMor­gan Chase dipped 0.5 per­cent to $106.36.

While bank prof­its are surg­ing this year, their stocks are not. Much of the profit growth has come from last year’s cor­po­rate tax cuts rather than a big im­prove­ment in the banks’ busi­nesses.

In­vestors also have wor­ried about the shrinking gap be­tween short-term in­ter­est rates and longer-term ones be­cause banks make a lot of their money by bor­row­ing money at short-term rates and lend­ing it out over the long term.

While in­vestors are tak­ing money out of fi­nan­cials, they are more op­ti­mistic about tech­nol­ogy com­pa­nies and re­tail­ers.

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