S&P Topples At End of Losing Week

Stocks came under pressure Friday afternoon, reversing early gains. The Dow Jones Industrials eked higher 0.98 points to 31,494.32, for a gain on the week of nearly 36 points. The blue-chip index had jumped more than 150 points earlier in the session. The S&P 500 demurred 7.26 points to 3,906.71, […]

Stocks came under pressure Friday afternoon, reversing early gains.

The Dow Jones Industrials eked higher 0.98 points to 31,494.32, for a gain on the week of nearly 36 points. The blue-chip index had jumped more than 150 points earlier in the session.

The S&P 500 demurred 7.26 points to 3,906.71, for a loss on the week of 28 points.

The NASDAQ Composite added 9.11 points to 13,874.46, for a tumble on a short week of 221 points, or 1.6%.

Though the major indexes traded higher for most of the morning, a combination of rising interest rates and profit taking in some of the market’s largest technology companies appeared to dampen optimism after noon.

Cyclical stocks posted some of the strongest gains with the industrials up 1.8%, materials and financials sectors each ahead 1.6%. Utilities and consumer staples stocks were among the biggest laggards.

Applied Materials, which makes the equipment used to manufacture semiconductors, gave a better-than-expected second-quarter forecast after the bell Thursday. The shares gained 5.3% Friday. Other chip-related stocks also rose, including Lam Research, AMD and Nvidia.

The strength among economically sensitive stocks came after Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen told the media Thursday after the bell that more stimulus is necessary even as some economic data suggested a rebound is already underway. She added a $1.9-trillion stimulus deal could help the U.S. get back to full employment in a year.

Many on Wall Street agree with Yellen that a large stimulus is needed and that a trillion-dollar package, along with a smooth economic reopening this year, will cause the market rally to continue.

The House of Representatives will try to pass a $1.9-trillion coronavirus relief plan before the end of February, Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Thursday. Democratic Congressional leaders may try to pass a package without votes from Republicans.

After a temporary pullback in December, homebuyers returned to the market in January despite record low supply. Closed sales of existing homes in January increased 0.6% compared with December, according to the National Association of Realtors.

Sales ended the month at a seasonally adjusted, annualized rate of 6.69 million units. That figure is 23.7% higher compared with January 2020 and the second-highest sales pace since April 2006.

Prices for 10-Year Treasurys lost ground, raising yields to 1.34% from Thursday’s 1.29%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.

Oil prices sank $1.54 to $58.68 U.S. a barrel.

Gold prices added $5.50 to $1,780.50

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