Wall Street ends week positively; S&P 500, Dow hit record highs

April 16, 2021 6:52 AM EDT

FILE PHOTO: People are seen on Wall St. outside the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York City, U.S., March 19, 2021. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/File Photo


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By David French and Shivani Kumaresan

(Reuters) - The three main Wall Street indexes ended Friday higher for the day and week, with the S&P 500 and the Dow breaking closing records, as investors took strong economic data and bank earnings as signs of momentum in the U.S. pandemic recovery.

Nine of the 11 S&P sub-sectors rose on Friday. The energy and information technology indexes were the exceptions. The former, dipping 0.9%, was weighed by lower oil prices, while the latter was marginally lower, the day after its highest-ever close.

The S&P 500 and the Dow Industrials recorded their fourth straight week of gains. The S&P 500 scored three closing highs this week, while the Dow surpassed its best finish two days running.

The technology-heavy Nasdaq finished less than one percent below its own all-time closing high achieved on Feb. 12.

Investor confidence on the road ahead seems steady, with the volatility index, Wall Street's fear gauge, falling 1.9% to its lowest close in 14 months.

"Everyone is looking at just how far we can run before we start raising interest rates," said George Catrambone, head of Americas trading at DWS Group.

"Until we see that significant inflation growth and the Fed starts to talk about raising interest rates, I think it's going to be goldilocks conditions."

Reporting a 150% jump in quarterly profit on Friday, Morgan Stanley joined other big U.S. banks in posting first-quarter numbers reinforcing hopes of a swift economic recovery.

Still, the investment bank's shares fell 2.8% as it also disclosed an almost $1 billion loss from the collapse of private fund Archegos.

Shares of JPMorgan Chase & Co, Goldman Sachs Group, Bank of America Corp and Wells Fargo & Co rose between 0.7% and 3.8%. The S&P financials index climbed to a second consecutive record finish.

"When this is all put in context, and compared with other sectors including technology, we're going to see the financials' results look very powerful," said Diane Jaffee, senior portfolio manager at TCW.

"Given what we know about the Fed's loosening on caps for dividend increases and buybacks after the next CCAR results in June, I think we'll have a very strong half-year - at least - for financials."

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 164.68 points, or 0.48%, to 34,200.67; the S&P 500 gained 15.05 points, or 0.36%, at 4,185.47; and the Nasdaq Composite added 13.58 points, or 0.1%, at 14,052.34.

For the week, the S&P rose 1.4%, the Dow added 1.2% and the Nasdaq gained 1.1%.

The Federal Reserve's pledge to keep interest rates low despite higher inflation has also revived demand for richly valued technology stocks, although bond yields edged higher again on Friday after hitting multi-week lows a day earlier.

Of the tech-related behemoths that helped led Wall Street's recovery last year from the coronavirus-fueled crash, Apple Inc slipped 0.3% on Friday, but Amazon.com Inc, Tesla Inc and Microsoft Corp all gained between 0.1% and 0.6%.

Volume on U.S. exchanges was 9.99 billion shares, compared with the 11.02 billion average for the full session over the last 20 trading days.

Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a 1.36-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.20-to-1 ratio favored decliners.

The S&P 500 posted 140 new 52-week highs and no new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 154 new highs and 102 new lows.

(Reporting by David French in New York and Shivani Kumaresan in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur, Anil D'Silva and Richard Chang)



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