AP Business

Stock market today: Wall Street clings to modest gains and marks another winning week

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks clung to modest gains on Wall Street Friday, giving the market another record high and a winning week.

The listless day for stocks capped off a mostly solid week of earnings where the technology sector once again powered the market higher. The sector has been the driving force behind a rally that started in October.

The S&P 500 index rose 1.77 points, or less than 0.1%, to 5,088.80. That marks another record high for the benchmark index and its sixth winning week in the last seven.

Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 62.42 points, or 0.2%, to 39,131.53. The Nasdaq slipped 44.80 points, or 0.3%, to 15,996.82.

Weakness in some technology companies weighed down the market, in a reversal from Thursday. Apple fell 1%. Nvidia eked out a 0.4% gain, after crossing above the $2 trillion valuation mark earlier in the day. On Thursday, the chipmaker surged after reporting blockbuster demand for its semiconductors, which are used to power AI applications.

A pullback by travel-related companies also checked gains elsewhere in the market. Booking.com tumbled 10.1%, dragging other travel-related companies down. The online travel service beat Wall Street’s fourth-quarter sales and profit targets but issued a lukewarm forecast that spooked investors. Competitor Expedia Group fell 2%.

“Investors are sanguine, with political uncertainty, elevated valuations, and Fed uncertainty not able to dent the momentum in the market,” said Mark Hackett, chief of investment research at Nationwide.

Earnings remained the big focus. Ticket seller and concert promoter Live Nation rose 2% after beating analysts’ revenue forecasts. Sleep Number, which sells beds and bedding products, surged 33% after beating beat Wall Street’s revenue forecasts.

On the losing end, Warner Bros. Discovery fell 9.9% after reporting a bigger loss than Wall Street expected.

Outside of earnings, Intuitive Machines, the company that made the first U.S. lunar landing in more than 50 years, soared 15.8%.

Energy stocks were mostly lower as oil and natural gas prices fell. U.S. crude oil prices slumped 2.7% and natural gas prices fell 7.4%.

Treasury yields slipped. The yield on the 10-year Treasury fell to 4.26% from 4.33% late Thursday.

Markets were mostly higher in Europe and Asia. Tokyo’s markets were closed for a holiday, a day after they surged to an all-time high.

Investors have more big earnings to review next week as they try to get a better sense of where the economy is headed. Home improvement retailer Lowe’s and discount retailer Dollar Tree will report results. Computer maker HP and electronics retailer Best Buy will also release their results.

Analysts polled by FactSet expect companies in the S&P 500 to report earnings growth of just under 4% for the fourth quarter. Roughly 90% of companies in the index have already reported. Analysts are forecasting earnings growth of 3.6% for the current quarter.

Wall Street will also get more economic data that could further clarify how consumers are feeling and whether inflation is still cooling. The Conference Board will release its consumer confidence survey for February and the government will provide another update on gross domestic product during the fourth quarter.

The big focus will be on inflation data from the government’s January report on personal consumption and expenditures. It is the Federal Reserve’s preferred measure of inflation and is expected to cool to 2.4%. It peaked at 7.1% in June of 2022.

The Fed has been trying to tame inflation back to its target of 2% and data last week on consumer and wholesale prices came in hotter than Wall Street expected. That prompted Wall Street to push expectations for the central bank to start cutting its benchmark interest. Traders are now expecting the Fed to cut rates in June instead of March.

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