The Oklahoman

Modest gain breaks a 3-day losing streak for S&P 500 index

- Damian J. Troise and Alex Veiga

Major U.S. stock indexes closed mostly higher Thursday, snapping a three-day losing streak for the S&P 500 despite another choppy day of trading.

The benchmark index rose 0.3% after having been down 0.5% in the early going. It’s still on pace for a 0.6% weekly loss. The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended flat, while the Nasdaq rose 0.7%.

Most of the S&P 500’s 11 sectors rose, with technology and communicat­ion accounting for a big share of the gains. A mix of companies that rely on consumer spending also helped lift the market. Financial and energy companies fell.

Investors had their eye on company earnings and inflation data. They also got more insight into the Federal Reserve’s next policy moves after the central bank released the minutes from its policymake­rs’ meeting last month.

The minutes, which revealed Fed officials discussed how the central bank might begin to taper the unpreceden­ted financial support it has been giving the economy since the early days of the pandemic, may have helped give the market an afternoon boost after its downbeat start, said J.J. Kinahan, chief strategist with TD Ameritrade.

“You’re starting to get a framework of how they’re going to go about it, and the market is really just desperate for some clarity,” he said. “At least we’re starting to see the game plan.”

Fed officials agreed at their last meeting that if the economy continued to improve, they could start reducing their monthly bond purchases as soon as next month and bring them to an end by the middle of 2022.

The S&P 500 rose 13.15 points to 4,363.80. The Dow slipped 0.53 points, or less than 0.1%, to 34,377.81. The tech-heavy Nasdaq gained 105.71 points to 14,571.64.

Small company stocks also rose. The Russell 2000 index added 7.70 points, or 0.3%, to 2,241.97.

Banks were among the heaviest weights on the market. JPMorgan Chase fell 2.6% after its latest earnings showed that the bank struggled to grow revenues with interest rates at near-zero levels. Falling bond yields also weighed on the sector, which relies on higher yields to charge more lucrative interest on loans. American Express fell 3.5% and Capital One Financial dropped 3.3%. Bank of America, Wells Fargo and Citigroup will follow with their latest quarterly results on Thursday.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury fell to 1.54% from 1.58% late Tuesday.

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