Wall Street rises on banks' results; S&P's best week since January

New York:  Wall Street advanced on Friday, supported by banks' strong earnings, but Boeing limited the Dow's gain after an airplane fire in London.

Both the Dow Jones industrial average and the S&P 500 index ended Friday's session at record closing highs, even though the point and percentage gains for the day were slim. The Nasdaq closed at a 52-week high.

The S&P 500 scored its best weekly performance since January and a third consecutive week of gains.

Financial stocks were the day's biggest gainers, with the S&P 500 financial sector index up 0.8 per cent.

"The momentum has been incredibly strong ... At some point, a breather or some sort of consolidation makes sense," said Joe Bell, senior equity strategist at Schaeffer's Investment Research in Cincinnati.

Over the past three weeks, the benchmark S&P 500 has erased the losses of nearly 6 per cent from the selloff triggered by Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke in late May, when he first raised the prospect of trimming the central bank's $85 billion in monthly bond purchases.

Since then, the market has been getting reassurance from Bernanke and other Fed officials that the US central bank will keep monetary policy loose for some time.

"For now, it seems like some of the comments made this past week have settled the market back into place," Bell said, adding, "Hopefully we'll be back to paying more attention to the earnings reports," which will probably take the spotlight in the next few weeks, he added.

Shares of Wells Fargo & Co, the biggest US mortgage lender, jumped 1.8 per cent to $42.63 after the company posted quarterly results that topped expectations. Citigroup rose 1.5 per cent to $50.81. Bank of America climbed 2 per cent to $13.78 and ranked among the most actively traded stocks in both the Dow and the S&P 500.

JPMorgan Chase & Co, the largest US bank by assets, reported a 31 per cent jump in quarterly profits. The stock, however, slipped 0.3 per cent to close at $54.97, giving up an earlier gain of more than 1 per cent. The stock had traded higher for most of the day.

The Dow Jones industrial average edged up 3.38 points, or 0.02 per cent, to end at 15,464.30, a record closing high.

The Standard & Poor's 500 rose 5.17 points, or 0.31 per cent, to finish at 1,680.19, also a closing high.

The Nasdaq Composite gained 21.78 points, or 0.61 per cent, to close at 3,600.08, a 52-week high.

For the week, the Dow rose 2.2 per cent, while the S&P 500 gained 3 per cent and the Nasdaq climbed 3.5 per cent.

In Friday's session, Boeing was the Dow's biggest decliner. Boeing shares fell 4.7 per cent to $101.87 after a Dreamliner operated by Ethiopian Airlines caught fire at Britain's Heathrow airport on Friday.

(Read: Boeing's 787 Dreamliner woes)

Shares of Dreamliner component manufacturers also slipped, including Honeywell International, off 0.2 per cent at $82.37, and Spirit Aerosystems, down 2.3 per cent a $22.61.

United Parcel Service was among the biggest losers in the S&P 500, sliding 5.8 per cent to $86.12, after the world's No.1 package delivery company said second-quarter profit would fall short of expectations. Shares in rival FedEx Corp fell 2 per cent to $102.29.

UPS weighed on the S&P industrial sector index, which fell 0.6 per cent.

Analysts expect S&P 500 companies' second-quarter earnings to have grown 2.8 per cent from a year earlier, with revenue up 1.5 per cent, data from Thomson Reuters showed.

US-listed shares of Infosys jumped 4.8 per cent to $46.17 after the company reported quarterly results and maintained its revenue growth forecast.

On the economic front, the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan's preliminary reading for July on the consumer sentiment index was 83.9, down from 84.1 in June and shy of forecasts for 85.

About 5.4 billion shares changed hands on the New York Stock Exchange, the Nasdaq and NYSE MKT, below the 6.4 billion daily average so far this year.

On the NYSE, advancers narrowly beat decliners with 1,488 stocks rising and 1,478 shares falling. On the Nasdaq, nearly 14 stocks rose for every 11 that fell.

Copyright @ Thomson Reuters 2013


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