US stocks ended little changed on Friday, as Applied Materials helped lift the tech sector and offset a renewed drop in oil prices, with major indices capping their best week of the year.
The NASDAQ Composite Index rose, helped by a 7 percent jump in Applied Materials shares after the chip equipment provider gave a strong profit and revenue forecast for the current quarter.
Buoyed by big gains on Tuesday and Wednesday, the major indices posted their best weekly performances this year, with the tech-rich NASDAQ tallying its strongest week since July last year.
However, the S&P 500 remained down 6.2 percent this year, hurt by oil’s prolonged slide and fears of a Chinese economic slowdown affecting the global economy.
The performance of equities has been tightly linked with that of oil. The commodity’s price fell 4 percent on Friday as record-high US crude stockpiles heightened supply concerns, and the S&P energy sector ended down 0.4 percent.
Nordstrom shares dropped 6.7 percent after the department store operator’s quarterly profit missed expectations. On Thursday, Wal-Mart Stores’ tepid sales outlook had weighed on stocks.
“We have seen oil come back off and that has put some pressure on the market,” said Walter Todd, chief investment officer at Greenwood Capital Associates in Greenwood, South Carolina. “Some of these earnings that we have gotten out of the past couple of days from retailers have not exactly been confidence inspiring.”
The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 21.44 points, or 0.13 percent, from Thursday to 16,391.99. The S&P 500 lost 0.05 points, ending roughly flat, at 1,917.78. The NASDAQ added 16.89 points, or 0.38 percent, to 4,504.43.
Investors also digested data that showed rising rents and healthcare costs lifted underlying US inflation last month, a sign of a pick-up in price pressures that could allow the US Federal Reserve to gradually raise rates this year.
Recent economic data related to industrial production and the labor market have encouraged investors about the strength of the US economy.
“We have had a lot of very concerning economic data in the first six weeks of the year, and I think over the last few weeks we have seen a significant improvement in that data,” said Tony Roth, chief investment officer at Wilmington Trust in Wilmington, Delaware.
Other corporate earnings reports dragged on stocks. Deere & Co shares fell 4.1 percent to US$77 after the tractor manufacturer cut its fiscal-year sales and profit outlook. Shares of rival Caterpillar fell 1.1 percent.
Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the New York Stock Exchange by 1,549 to 1,492, for a 1.04-to-1 ratio on the downside; on the NASDAQ, 1,540 issues rose and 1,238 fell for a 1.24-to-1 ratio favoring advancers.
The S&P 500 posted 11 new 52-week highs and 4 new lows; the NASDAQ recorded 21 new highs and 54 new lows.
About 7.6 billion shares changed hands on US exchanges, below the roughly 9.3 billion daily average for the past 20 trading days, according to Thomson Reuters data.
Softbank Group Corp plans to keep a stake in the chip designer Arm Ltd, even if it sells a partial interest to Nvidia Corp, the Nikkei reported. The companies are negotiating terms, the newspaper reported, citing sources. Softbank might take a stake in Nvidia after it buys Arm, the report said. Nvidia and Arm might also merge through a share swap, and Softbank would become a major shareholder in the combined company, it said. The two parties aim to reach a deal in the next few weeks, the sources said, asking not to be identified because the information is private. Nvidia is the
END TO SPECULATION: The hotel’s management contract has been extended, despite reports that it wanted to end its alliance with Hyatt Hotels over a deal with Riant Capital Singapore-based Hong Leong Hotel Development Ltd (豐隆大飯店股份) yesterday said it has extended a management contract to ensure the continued presence of the Grand Hyatt brand in Taipei, ending rumors that the two sides were parting ways. “We are pleased Hyatt is able to come to terms on the extension of the management contract of Grand Hyatt Taipei,” said Kwek Leng Beng (郭令明), executive chairman of City Developments Ltd (城市發展) and Millennium & Copthorne Hotels Ltd (千禧國敦酒店). Hong Leong Hotel Development is a subsidiary of Millennium, and both fall under the Hong Leong Group (豐隆集團). The Grand Hyatt Taipei (台北君悅大飯店), owned and built by
Gold surged to a fresh record on Friday, fueled by US dollar weakness and low interest rates, while silver headed for its best month since 1979. Spot bullion is up more than 10 percent this month, as US real yields lingered near record lows. While the ferocity of rallies in gold and silver cooled in the middle of the week, most market watchers predict there might be more gains ahead. Both metals have added about 30 percent this year, with gold and silver exchange-traded funds boosting holdings to a record, as concern about the fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic fuels demand for
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