Market Update & Important Indicators
U.S. stocks extended their weekslong rally and the dollar resumed its slide Friday, capping a week of increased volatility. Major U.S. indexes were lifted by a new batch of strong corporate earnings reports and fresh data showing continued economic growth around the world, while intraday stock swings picked up slightly. The S&P 500 rose 33.62 points, or 1.2%, to 2872.87 Friday, surging into the close for its 14th record in January. That marks the most records for the S&P 500 in a single month since June 1955. The Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 223.92 points, or 0.8%, to 26616.71 and the Nasdaq Composite gained 94.61 points, or 1.3%, to 7505.77, both setting new highs as well. Earnings also continue to boost major stock indexes. Of the roughly quarter of companies in the S&P 500 that have reported fourth-quarter results through Friday, 77% have beat earnings estimates, according to FactSet. That puts earnings for the companies in the index on track to rise 12% from the prior year. The U.S. gold price traded lower overnight, pulling back 0.6% to finish at 1,349.30 US$/oz.
European stocks closed higher, recovering after recent losses as the euro and the pound pull away from Thursday's peaks against a battered dollar, with the STOXX Europe 600 up 0.5% at 400.57. Germany's DAX was up 0.3%, France's CAC 40 up 0.9% and the U.K.'s FTSE 100 up 0.65%. Italy's FTSE MIB and Spain's IBEX 35 closed flat.
While other Asian markets mostly marked time Friday, Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index rose to a record. Regional stocks were affected by the late-Thursday rally in the U.S. dollar, which came after President Donald Trump declared the currency would get stronger. The dollar pulled back some after rising further in early Asian trading, with the Wall Street Journal Dollar Index recently down 0.3%. The Hang Seng closed up 1.5% on strength in bank stocks, a major part of the index. Korea's stock benchmark ended up 0.5% for another record finish as export stocks got a lift from the dollar's overnight rebound. In Japan, after being up as much as 0.5%, the Nikkei finished down 0.2%.
Australian markets were closed Friday for a holiday. The S&P/ASX 200 Benchmark Index finished the week up 44.20 points, or 0.7%, to 6050.
The London Metal Exchange’s 3-month copper contract traded lower overnight, falling 0.7% to finish at $7,085/t. The other base metals finished mixed. Aluminium prices added 0.7% to 2,253/t, while lead prices pulled back 0.2% to close at 2,594/t. Zinc prices were 0.5% higher at 3,520/t, whilst Tin prices gained 0.8% to 21,820/t. Nickel prices were pulled back 0.3% to close at 13,619/t.
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