Sun, Mar 19, 2017 - Page 14 News List

Wall St flat as banks, Amgen weigh

‘PRO-GROWTH AGENDA’:Investors are moving between sectors, depending on where the US dollar is and what comments come from Washington, a strategist said

Reuters, NEW YORK

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange on Thursday.

Photo: Bloomberg

US stocks on Friday dipped as bank shares fell alongside US Treasury yields while Adobe Systems Inc helped buoy the S&P tech sector and the NASDAQ Composite.

Amgen Inc was the largest drag on both the S&P 500 and NASDAQ, down 6.4 percent at US$168.61, after the extent of a cholesterol drug’s benefits in a highly anticipated study disappointed investors, even if it cut the risk of heart attacks and strokes by more than 20 percent in patients with heart disease.

The S&P tech index was supported by Adobe’s surge to a record high of US$130.30 after the Photoshop software maker reported strong earnings. The stock ended up 3.8 percent at US$127.01.

Indices were little changed for a second day even if the NASDAQ Composite touched a record intraday high.

Analysts said investors are expecting a catalyst to thrust stocks higher after bets on US President Donald Trump’s promises of tax cuts and a fiscal stimulus drove Wall Street to all-time highs on a weeks-long rally.

“Investors are moving from sector to sector dependent on where the US dollar is, comments from the White House on the health care act and earnings,” said Quincy Krosby, market strategist at Prudential Financial in Newark, New Jersey. The 10-year benchmark US Treasury note yield “dipped below 2.5 percent and financials pull back while utilities get bid. This churn is a way for the market to consolidate.”

Analysts increasingly worry that the Trump administration is spending too much of its political capital in an effort to pass a Republican-proposed healthcare bill, which might leave it wanting for support when it tries to reform the tax code.

Bets on the passing of a tax reform are one of the pillars of the equities rally since the November last year US presidential election.

“This is a market waiting for its next catalyst and I think it wants to hear it from the White House,” Krosby said. “That’s very important for a market that embraced the pro-growth agenda of the Trump administration.”

The Dow Jones Industrial Average on Friday fell 19.93 points, or 0.1 percent, to end at 20,914.62, the S&P 500 lost 3.13 points, or 0.13 percent, to 2,378.25 and the NASDAQ Composite added 0.24 point, or zero percent, to 5,901.

For the week, the S&P rose 0.2 percent, the Dow gained less than 0.1 percent and the NASDAQ added 0.7 percent.

The S&P 500’s financial sector posted its first back-to-back weekly decline since September last year.

Tiffany & Co touched a 19-month high of US$94 after higher-than-expected quarterly results. Shares of the high-end jeweler closed up 2.7 percent at US$92.42.

About 9.68 billion shares changed hands in US exchanges, compared with the 7.1 billion daily average over the past 20 sessions.

Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a 1.51-to-1 ratio; on NASDAQ, a 1.43-to-1 ratio favored advancers.

The S&P 500 posted 64 new 52-week highs and three new lows; the NASDAQ Composite recorded 175 new highs and 58 new lows.

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