US stocks advanced on Friday, supported by banks’ strong earnings, but Boeing limited the Dow’s gain after an airplane fire in London.
Both the Dow Jones industrial average and the S&P 500 index ended Friday’s session at record closing highs, even though the point and percentage gains for the day were slim. The NASDAQ closed at a 52-week high.
The S&P 500 had its best weekly performance since January and a third consecutive week of gains.
Financial stocks were the day’s biggest gainers, with the S&P 500 financial sector index up 0.8 percent.
“The momentum has been incredibly strong ... At some point, a breather or some sort of consolidation makes sense,” said Joe Bell, senior equity strategist at Schaeffer’s Investment Research in Cincinnati.
Over the past three weeks, the benchmark S&P 500 has erased the losses of nearly 6 percent from the selloff triggered by US Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke in late May, when he first raised the prospect of trimming the central bank’s US$85 billion in monthly bond purchases. Since then, the market has been getting reassurance from Bernanke and other Fed officials that the US central bank will keep monetary policy loose for some time.
“For now, it seems like some of the comments made this past week have settled the market back into place,” Bell said. “Hopefully we’ll be back to paying more attention to the earnings reports,” which will probably take the spotlight in the next few weeks,”
Shares of Wells Fargo & Co, the biggest US mortgage lender, jumped 1.8 percent to US$42.63 after the company posted quarterly results that topped expectations. Citigroup rose 1.5 percent to US$50.81. Bank of America climbed 2 percent to US$13.78 and ranked among the most actively traded stocks in both the Dow and the S&P 500.
JPMorgan Chase & Co, the largest US bank by assets, reported a 31 percent jump in quarterly profits. The stock, however, slipped 0.3 percent to close at US$54.97, giving up an earlier gain of more than 1 percent.
The Dow Jones industrial average edged up 3.38 points, or 0.02 percent, to end at 15,464.30, a record closing high. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index rose 5.17 points, or 0.31 percent, to finish at 1,680.19, also a closing high. The NASDAQ Composite Index gained 21.78 points, or 0.61 percent, to close at 3,600.08.