Stocks Regain Ground But Still Close Lower For The Week - US Commentary
WASHINGTON (Alliance News) - Stocks saw some strength during trading on Friday, regaining ground following the sell-off seen in the previous session. With the upward move, the Nasdaq and the S&P 500 rebounded after ending Thursday's trading at their lowest closing levels in a month.
The major averages all closed in positive territory, although the tech-heavy Nasdaq outperformed its counterparts. While the Nasdaq climbed 39.68 points or 0.6% to 6,256.56, the Dow inched up 14.31 points or 0.1% to 21,858.32 and the S&P 500 edged up 3.11 points or 0.1% to 2,441.32.
Despite the gains on the day, the major averages moved lower for the week. The Dow slumped by 1.1%, while the Nasdaq and the S&P 500 tumbled by 1.5% and 1.4%, respectively.
The strength on Wall Street was partly due to bargain hunting, with traders picking up stocks at reduced levels following the pullback seen over the past few sessions.
Positive sentiment was also generated by a report from the Labor Department showing just a modest uptick in consumer prices in the month of July.
The Labor Department said its consumer price index inched up by 0.1% in July after coming in unchanged in June. Economists had expected prices to rise by 0.2%.
Excluding food and energy prices, core consumer prices still crept up by 0.1% in July, matching the increases seen in the three previous months. Core prices had also been expected to climb by 0.2%.
The smaller than expected increase in consumer prices has led to optimism that the Federal Reserve will not be in a hurry to raise interest rates.
Buying interest was somewhat subdued, however, as the ever-escalating war of words between President Donald Trump and North Korea continued to raise geopolitical concerns.
Trump suggested in remarks on Thursday that his comments threatening North Korea with "fire and fury" may not have been tough enough.
"I will tell you this, North Korea better get their act together or they're going to be in trouble like few nations ever have been in trouble in this world," Trump said.
Trump continued to ramp up the rhetoric with a post on Twitter this morning indicating that the US is prepared to take military action against North Korea.
"Military solutions are now fully in place, locked and loaded, should North Korea act unwisely. Hopefully Kim Jong Un will find another path!" Trump tweeted.
In an apparent response to Trump's tweet, a statement issued by North Korea's official KCNA news agency claimed the president is "driving the situation on the Korean peninsula to the brink of a nuclear war."
Computer hardware stocks rebounded following recent weakness, with the NYSE Arca Computer Hardware Index climbing by 1.4%. The index bounced off its lowest closing level in six months.
Data storage company Seagate Technology (STX) posted a standout gain within the hardware sector, jumping by 2.4%.
Significant strength was also visible among software stocks, as reflected by the 1.2% gain posted by the Dow Jones Software Index. Autodesk (ADSK) and Red Hat (RHT) posted notable gains.
Biotechnology, tobacco, and transportation stocks also saw considerable strength, while steel stocks extended a recent move to the downside.
In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region saw continued weakness during trading on Friday. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index plunged by 2%, while South Korea's Kospi Index slumped by 1.7%. The Japanese markets were closed for a holiday.
The major European also saw further downside on the day. While the German DAX Index closed just below the unchanged line, the UK's FTSE 100 Index and the French CAC 40 Index both tumbled by 1.1%.
In the bond market, treasuries extended the upward move seen over the two previous sessions. As a result, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, dipped by 2.3 basis points to 2.189%.
Developments regarding the situation with North Korea may remain in focus next week, although traders are also likely to keep an eye on reports on retail sales, housing starts, and industrial production.
The Federal Reserve is also scheduled to release the minutes of its latest monetary policy meeting, which may shed some light on the outlook for the interest rates.
Retailers Wal-Mart (WMT), Home Depot (HD), Target (TGT), Staples (SPLS), and Gap (GPS) are also among the companies due to report their quarterly results next week.
Copyright RTT News/dpa-AFX