The Dow on Friday reclaimed its perch above the 25,000 level for the first time in nearly a month while the technology-powered Nasdaq to a record, underlining an uptrend that has been driven by signs of economic strength and solid quarterly earnings, even if results for banks on the day failed to prove an immediate catalyst.
The day’s moves marked the sixth positive session in the past seven, suggesting that Wall Street was shaking off uncertainty surrounding trade policy that has served as the market’s most severe headwind in recent months.
How did the benchmarks perform?
The Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, +0.38% rose 94.52 points, or 0.4%, to 25,019.41.
The S&P 500 index SPX, +0.11% gained 3.02 points, or 0.1%, to 2,801.31, representing the first finish above the round-number level at 2,800 since Feb.1, according to FactSet data. Energy and industrials were the market leaders while financials ended lower following mixed results out of major banks.
Nasdaq Composite Index COMP, +0.03% added 2.06 points, or less than 0.1%, to 7,825.98, enough, however, to mark a fresh all-time high for the gauge.
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For the week, the Dow is up 2.3%, the S&P is up 1.5%, and the Nasdaq finished 1.8% higher. This is the second straight weekly advance for all three, as well as the Dow’s best week since early June.
What drove the market?
While trade will likely remain a primary focus over the coming sessions, investors diverted their attention to the second-quarter earnings season. Though it is too soon to tell how the broad economy did over the quarter, the early reads were somewhat mixed.
President Donald Trump arrived in the U.K. on Thursday and in a bombshell interview with the Sun newspaper criticized British Prime Minister Theresa May. Trump said May’s plans for a “soft” Brexit would “kill” any potential trade deal between the U.S. and the U.K.
However, Trump was seen as backtracking on the criticism on Friday, saying at a joint news conference that he still supports a post-Brexit trade deal with the U.K.
Thursday’s rally was partially driven by signs that Washington and Beijing are willing to resume trade talks, which investors hope could end in a bilateral agreement and avoid a trade war.
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Meanwhile, Special Counsel Robert Mueller charged 12 Russian intelligence agents with hacking into the computers of Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party ahead of the 2016 election. The charges come ahead of Trump’s meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday.
What were analysts saying?
“We’re pretty positive on the overall market; the 20% profit growth we’re expecting this quarter should be a fundamental anchor for stocks. But while financials have a good outlook, the results we saw today were mixed and the sector’s growth will probably underperform the S&P 500 this quarter,” said Anthony Saglimbene, global market strategist at Ameriprise Financial.
“Trade remains the key question hanging over markets, since much of the earnings story has probably been priced in, outside of beats or misses relative to expectations. There’s still a lot of uncertainty over trade, and that means markets will be volatile and rangebound over the summer. Some of this is noise, but more tariffs and retaliation can act as a wet blanket over the whole market. However, should the tensions cool, investors will pivot back to fundamentals, which remain positive.”
What’s new in economics?
The cost of import goods fell sharply in June to mark the biggest drop in about a year and a half, though the respite is unlikely to continue once tariffs between the U.S. and other countries go into affect.
A read on consumer sentiment fell to a six-month low of 97.1 in July, below expectations.
See: MarketWatch’s economic calendar
JPMorgan Chase & Co. JPM, -0.46% reported earnings and revenue that were better than had been forecast. However, the company’s consumer and community banking division was a weak spot, hurt by a decline in mortgage lending. Shares slid 0.5%.
Citigroup Inc. C, -2.20% reported earnings that came in ahead of expectations, although revenue was slightly below forecasts. Shares dropped 2.2%.
Wells Fargo & Co. WFC, -1.20% posted earnings that fell from the prior year and came in below expectations. Revenue was also below forecasts, sending shares down 1.2%.
The Financial Select Sector SPDR Fund XLF, -0.44% a popular exchange-traded fund that tracks the sector, lost 0.4%, having dropped more than 1% at its low of the session. The fund is down more than 3% for 2018 thus far.
Read: Bank earnings are expected to shine, but their stocks may not
Cisco Systems Inc. CSCO, -4.13% dropped 4.1% and Juniper Networks Inc. JNPR, -2.28% shed 2.3% on the heels of a report that Amazon.com Inc. AMZN, +0.91% is considering selling its own network switches with built-in connections to its Amazon Web Services cloud-computing offerings. Shares of Amazon were up 0.9%.
Shares of Dow component Johnson & Johnson JNJ, -1.43% dropped 1.4% after the pharma company late Thursday was ordered to pay $4.69 billion in damages in a lawsuit linking baby powder to cancer.
AT&T Inc. T, -1.74% declined 1.7% a day after the Justice Department filed an appeal of a ruling allowing the telecoms major to acquire Time Warner Inc. Raymond James downgraded the stock, saying the appeal was a “negative catalyst” for shares.
Advaxis Inc. ADXS, +9.84% jumped 9.8% after the Food and Drug Administration lifted a clinical hold on one of its drugs
What were other markets doing?
Asian stock markets closed mainly higher, but the Shanghai Composite Index SHCOMP, -0.23% ended lower after data showed Chinese imports grew less than expected in June. European stock markets were also mostly higher.
Crude-oil prices CLQ8, +0.28% rose 0.4% and gold futures GCQ8, -0.39% settled lower while the ICE Dollar Index DXY, -0.14% was mostly unchanged.
–Sara Sjolin contributed to this report