U.S. stock markets closed higher on Friday with the Dow Jones and S&P 500 closing at fresh record highs as better-than-expected corporate results boosted confidence about the economic recovery. Moreover, investors’ sentiment was also buoyed as housing starts and building permits for March surpassed estimates. All the three major stock indexes closed the day in green. How Did The Benchmarks Perform? The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) rose 0.5%, or 164.68 points, closing at 34,200.67, notching another record high, maintaining its three-day winning streak. Notably, 24 components of the 30-stock index ended in green while 6 finished the day in red. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite closed the day at 14,052.34, up 0.1%, continuing its second day of gains, on the back of strong performance by large-cap technology stocks. The S&P 500 rose 0.4%, closing the day at a fresh record high of 4,185.47 points. The Utilities Select Sector SPDR (XLU) and the Consumer Discretionary Select Sector SPDR (XLY) gained 0.8% and 0.8%, respectively. Notably, eight out of eleven sectors of the benchmark index closed in the positive zone and three in the red. The fear-gauge CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) was down 1.9% to 16.25. A total of 9.99 billion shares were traded on Friday, lower than the last 20-session average of 11.02. Advancers outnumbered decliners on the NYSE by a 1.36-to-1 ratio. On Nasdaq, a 1.20-to-1 ratio favored declining issues. Upbeat Earnings Results The PNC Financial Services Group, Inc ( PNC Quick Quote PNC - Free Report) came out with quarterly earnings of $4.10 per share, beating the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $2.75 per share. This compares to earnings of $1.95 per share a year ago. These figures are adjusted for non-recurring items. ( Read More) Citizens Financial Group, Inc. ( CFG Quick Quote CFG - Free Report) came out with quarterly earnings of $1.41 per share, beating the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $0.97 per share. This compares to earnings of $0.09 per share a year ago. ( Read More) Ally Financial Inc. ( ALLY Quick Quote ALLY - Free Report) came out with quarterly earnings of $2.09 per share, beating the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $1.18 per share. This compares to loss of $0.44 per share a year ago. ( Read More) Consequently, shares of PNC Financial, Citizens Financial and Ally Financial rose 2.3%, 0.3% and 0.2%, respectively. Notably, Ally Financial carries a Zacks Rank #1. You can see . the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here Housing Starts and Building Permits in March Surpass Estimates The U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development jointly reported that privately-owned housing starts in March were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,739,000, surpassing the consensus estimate of 1,618,000, compared to the February estimate of 1,457,000, which was revised upward from 1,421,000 reported earlier. Moreover, the report also mentioned that privately-owned housing units authorized by building permits were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,766,000, surpassing the consensus estimate of 1,750,000, compared to the February estimate of 1,720,000 which was revised upward from 1,682,000 reported earlier. Other Economic Data The University of Michigan reported that the preliminary reading of its consumer sentiment index increased to 86.5 in April, missing the consensus estimate of 89.3, but higher than the reading of 84.9 reported in March. The sub-index of current economic conditions climbed to 97.2 in April from 93.0 in March. Meanwhile, the sub-index of consumer expectations remained unchanged in April from the previous month and was reported at 79.7. Weekly Roundup U.S. stock markets wrapped up a positive week on Friday with the Dow and S&P 500 closing at record highs. Notably, for the week, the Dow gained 1.2% while the S&P 500 gained 1.4%, posting their fourth consecutive positive week, while the Nasdaq Composite rose for the third successive week, gaining 1.1%. A slew of positive economic data during the week as well as upbeat earnings from major banking names bolstered the confidence of market participants about a rebounding U.S. economy. Zacks Top 10 Stocks for 2021 In addition to the stocks discussed above, would you like to know about our 10 best buy-and-hold tickers for the entirety of 2021? Last year's 2020 Zacks Top 10 Stocks portfolio returned gains as high as +386.8%. Now a brand-new portfolio has been handpicked from over 4,000 companies covered by the Zacks Rank. Don’t miss your chance to get in on these long-term buys.
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