US STOCKS-S&P 500, Dow hit record highs as Wall St indexes eye weekly gains

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* S&P 500, Dow set for fourth straight week of gains

* Morgan Stanley wraps up earnings from big banks

* Strong U.S. data boosts economic recovery hopes

* Indexes: Dow up 0.36%, S&P 500 up 0.26%, Nasdaq down 0.02% (Adds comments, updates to mid-afternoon)

April 16 (Reuters) – The S&P 500 and the Dow posted fresh highs on Friday as investors pushed the benchmark indexes toward weekly gains on the back of strong economic data, falling Treasury yields and positive earnings from big U.S. banks.

Seven of the 11 S&P indexes were higher. Information technology was one of the laggards, off 0.1% after closing at a record high the previous day, while the energy index dipped 0.6% on oil prices slipping.

The S&P 500 and the blue-chip Dow Jones Industrial Average are on course for their fourth straight week of gains, while the technology-heavy Nasdaq is less than a percent below its own all-time closing high achieved on Feb. 12.

The S&P 500 has hit record highs in six of the last seven sessions, and the Dow surpassed its peak for the fourth session in six.

Investor confidence on the road ahead seems steady, with the volatility index, Wall Street’s fear gauge, down 2.1% on Friday and on course for its lowest close in 14 months.

“Everyone is looking at just how far we can run before we start raising interest rates,” said George Catrambone, head of Americas trading at DWS Group.

“Until we see that significant inflation growth and the Fed starts to talk about raising interest rates, I think it’s going to be goldilocks, and any disruptions in the market will be opportunities to clean up your risk book.”

Further buoyant bank earnings came on Friday from Morgan Stanley, which reported a 150% jump in quarterly profit, joining JPMorgan Chase & Co, Goldman Sachs Group Inc and Bank of America in reinforcing hopes of a swift economic recovery.

Still, the investment bank’s shares fell 3.8% as it also disclosed an almost $1 billion loss from the collapse of private fund Archegos.

Shares of JPMorgan, Goldman Sachs, Bank of America, and Wells Fargo & Co rose between 0.7% and 1%, while the S&P financials index was up 0.5% after hitting a record high in the session.

“You are just seeing blow out earnings from the banks and all the data pointing to a very strong reopening,” said Thomas Hayes, chairman of Great Hill Capital.

By 2:07 p.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 123.08 points, or 0.36%, to 34,159.07, the S&P 500 gained 10.75 points, or 0.26%, to 4,181.17 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 2.79 points, or 0.02%, to 14,035.97.

The Federal Reserve’s pledge to keep interest rates low despite higher inflation has also revived demand for richly valued technology stocks, although bond yields edged higher again on Friday after hitting multi-week lows a day earlier.

Tech behemoth Apple Inc, among the stocks which led Wall Street’s recovery last year from the coronavirus-fueled crash, slipped 0.5%.

Bitcoin-related stocks including Riot Blockchain and Marathon Digital slumped about 7.5% and 6.5% respectively after Turkey banned the use of cryptocurrencies and crypto assets to purchase goods and services.

Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a 1.17-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.39-to-1 ratio favored decliners.

The S&P 500 posted 137 new 52-week highs and no new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 139 new highs and 98 new lows. (Reporting by Shivani Kumaresan in Bengaluru and David French in New York; Editing by Arun Koyyur, Anil D’Silva and Richard Chang)