People walk by an electronic stock board of a securities firm in Tokyo, Friday, March 17, 2017. Asian markets were mixed Friday, weighing prospects that the U.S. Federal Reserve will not raise interest rates as many times as some investors expect. (AP Photo/Koji Sasahara)

US stocks mixed, still on pace for another winning week

March 17, 2017 - 11:01 am

NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stocks were mixed in early trading Friday, and indexes made only small moves for the second straight day. Gains for dividend-paying stocks helped to balance out losses for banks and health care stocks.

The Standard & Poor's 500 index is still on track to deliver its seventh week of gains in the last eight, following a big rally earlier in the week sparked by the Federal Reserve's announcement on interest rates.

KEEPING SCORE: The S&P 500 was virtually flat at 2,381, as of 10:30 a.m. Eastern time. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 8 points, or less than 0.1 percent, to 20,942. The Nasdaq composite was close to flat at 5,890. Three stocks rose for every two that fell on the New York Stock Exchange.

Despite its modest moves Thursday and Friday, the S&P 500 is still on pace to deliver another winning week. It jumped on Wednesday after the Federal Reserve gave a more measured forecast for interest-rate increases than some investors expected. While raising rates by a quarter of a percentage point, the central bank said that it's still planning a total of three increases this year. That surprised some investors, who had begun to expect four hikes given the recent pickup in the economy and inflation.

YIELDS: Treasury yields dipped, resuming a slide that began after the Fed's announcement. The 10-year Treasury yield fell to 2.50 percent from 2.54 percent late Thursday. The two-year yield dipped to 1.31 per cent from 1.34 percent, and the 30-year yield sank to 3.12 percent from 3.15 percent.

HEALTH CARE, FINANCIAL STOCKS SINK: Amgen had the biggest loss in the S&P 500 after results from a study of its cholesterol drug Repatha disappointed investors. It sank $11.94, or 6.6 percent, to $168.17. It helped drag down health care stocks in the S&P 500 overall by 0.5 percent.

Financial stocks were also weak, falling 0.7 percent with bond yields. The pair has often moved in the same direction recently because higher rates would allow banks to charge more for loans and earn bigger profits.

DIVIDEND PAYERS RISE: When bond yields drop, it makes the income provided by dividend-paying stocks more attractive. Utility stocks in the S&P 500, which pay some of the biggest dividends in the index, rose 0.3 percent. Real-estate investment trusts, another go-to investment for income seekers, also rose 0.3 percent.

BIGGEST WINNER: Adobe surged to the biggest gain in the S&P 500 after reporting stronger revenue and earnings for its latest quarter than analysts expected. It jumped $7.07, or 5.7 percent, to $129.36.

SPARKLE SPARKLE: Jeweler Tiffany jumped $3.30, or 3.7 percent, to $93.28 after reporting better profit than analysts expected for its latest quarter. Strong demand in China and Japan helped it to offset flagging sales at home.

MARKETS ABROAD: France's CAC 40 rose 0.1 percent, Germany's DAX index dipped 0.1 percent and the FTSE 100 in London rose 0.1 percent. Japan's Nikkei 225 fell 0.3 percent, South Korea's Kospi rose 0.7 percent and the Hang Seng in Hon Kong added 0.1 percent.

G-20 POWWOW: Finance leaders from the G-20 industrial and emerging economies are meeting Friday and Saturday in the southern German resort town of Baden-Baden. The first G-20 finance meeting since tough-talking Donald Trump was elected president is likely to focus on concerns over protectionism and currencies.

COMMODITIES: Benchmark U.S. crude rose 13 cents to $48.88 per barrel. Brent crude, which is used to price international oils, rose 1 cent to $51.75 a barrel.

Gold rose $3.30 to $1,230.40 per ounce. Silver added 6 cents to $17.39, and copper rose a penny to $2.69 per pound.

CURRENCIES: The euro edged up to $1.0752 from $1.0749 late Thursday, and the British pound rose to $1.2370 from $1.2358. The dollar slipped to 112.78 Japanese yen from 113.26 yen.


AP Business Writer Yuri Kageyama contributed from Tokyo.

AP Editorial Categories: 
Comments ()