Wall Street ekes out gains to close the sluggish week

Wall Street ekes out gains to close the sluggish week

U.S. stocks closed modestly higher and persistent concerns over whether the recent surge in inflation could continue and cause the U.S. Federal Reserve to tighten its dovish policy sooner than expected.

The S&P 500 set a new record closing high, topping its previous record level from Thursday. The Dow and Nasdaq also ended in positive territory. The 10-year yield dipped back below 1.5%. 

The indexes have been range-bound, with few catalysts to move investor sentiment. Much of the focus centered on Thursday’s consumer price data, which eased jitters over the duration of the current inflation wave.

The Federal Reserve has repeatedly mentioned that near-term price surges will not metastasize into lasting inflation, an assertion reflected in the University of Michigan’s Consumer Sentiment report released on Friday, which showed inflation expectations easing from last month’s spike.

Investors now turn their attention to the Fed’s statement at the conclusion of next week’s two-day monetary policy meeting, which will be parsed for clues regarding the central bank’s timetable for raising key interest rates.

Benchmark U.S. Treasury yields posted their biggest weekly drop in nearly a year, weighing on the interest-sensitive financial sector in recent sessions.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 13.36 points, or 0.04%, to 34,479.6, the S&P 500 gained 8.26 points, or 0.19%, to 4,247.44 and the Nasdaq Composite added 49.09 points, or 0.35%, to 14,069.42.

Among the 11 major sectors in the S&P 500, rebounding financial stocks and tech led the gainers, while healthcare suffered the biggest percentage drop.

But meme stock moves were more muted on Friday, with AMC Entertainment outperformed, gaining 15.4%.

Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a 1.83-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.70-to-1 ratio favored advancers.

Volume on U.S. exchanges was 9.11 billion shares, compared with the 10.56 billion average over the last 20 trading days. 

Damon Harrison
Market Analyst, IPG Group