Benchmarks closed mixed on Friday as optimism over year-end rally lifted investors’ sentiments. Though all the major indexes notched records, stronger-than-expected retail sales report, China’s industrial production rebound and optimism on the U.S-China trade front helped the indexes close mostly in green..
The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) gained 23.87 points or 0.1%, to close at 28,645.26 and the S&P 500 added 0.11 points to close at of 3,240.02. While, the Nasdaq Composite Index closed at 9,006.62, sliding 15.77 points or 0.17%. The fear-gauge CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) increased 6.2% to close at 13.43. Advancing issues outnumbered declining one for a 1.33-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and a 1.31-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq favored advancers.
How Did the Benchmarks Perform?
The Dow has risen for three straight weeks and is up 22.8% year-to-date. While the S&P 500 index rose for a fifth consecutive week and is up 29.25% year-to-date. In fact, the broader index registered a new record close on Friday and is only 0.5% away from making its best year since 1997.
After snapping the 11-day streak and hitting the 9,000 point mark on Thursday, the tech laden index finished at record high before Friday’s close. The Nasdaq is up 35.74% year-to-date.
Netflix, Inc. (NFLX - Free Report) and Alphabet Inc. (GOOG - Free Report) were among the biggest drags on the S&P 500 and Nasdaq, shares fell 1.1% and 0.6%, respectively. Both, Netflix and Alphabet carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.
Overall, the S&P index recorded 53 new 52-week highs and no new low. On the other hand, Nasdaq recorded 69 new highs and 17 new lows.
China’s Industrial Production Rebounds
In fact, on Friday report on Chinese industrial production helped boost investors’ sentiments. Reports from China’s National Bureau of Statistics stated that industrial profits rose 5.4% from a year earlier, against October’s 9.9% drop. This growth in production halted the three months steep decline and registered fasted growth in the past eight months.
Retail Sales Hits Records
U.S. consumers have spent generously this holiday season. According to Mastercard SpendingPulse, retail sales in the United States from Nov 1 to Dec 24 rose 3.4% from the comparable year-ago period. Noticeably, online sales increased 18.8% compared to 2018. This also boosted investors’ sentiment, as the retails sales indicated toward consumers’ spending capability.
Year-end Rally in Stocks Driven by Optimism on Trade Front
The U.S.-China trade truce seems to be the driving factor behind the year-end rally of stocks. Both, the United States and China are in the middle of formalizing terms of the deal and President Donald Trump assurance on Tuesday helped investors embrace riskier asset. Trump said that the deal signing ceremony with Chinese leader Xi Jinping is going to take place soon.
Strong economic data and easing of the U.S-China protracted trade war had sent indexes to multiple record highs this week. In fact, this holiday-interrupted week has been quite promising for the major benchmarks, as they hit fresh all-time highs and the Nasdaq crossed the coveted 9,000 mark for the first time on Dec 26. Overall, the Nasdaq advanced by 0.9%, while the Dow and the S&P 500 climbed 0.7% and 0.6%, respectively, throughout this week.
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