Stocks push higher on Wall Street, on track for weekly gain


Stocks rose on Wall Street Friday, putting the market on track for a strong finish in a week that opened with a stumble.

The S&P 500 index rose 0.8% as of 11:21 a.m. Eastern time and is hovering above the record high it set early last week. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 222 points, or 0.6%, to 35,045 and the Nasdaq rose 0.6%.

The major indexes are all on track to close the week higher, essentially brushing off a sharp sell-off on Monday that trimmed 1.6% from the benchmark S&P 500.

Banks led the broad gains as bond yields rose. Higher yields allow banks to charge more lucrative interest on loans. The yield on the 10-year Treasury rose to 1.30% from 1.26% late Thursday. The benchmark yield has recovered from its lows earlier in the week, but is still trading at relatively low levels given that the economy is in a recovery.

Communication, technology and health care companies also made solid gains. Energy companies lagged the broader market as crude oil prices edged lower.

The sell-off early in the week was partly due to jitters about the virus pandemic and whether variants rapidly spreading across the country and world will crimp the economic recovery. Stocks have been making steady gains, but trading has been choppy on a week-to-week basis as investors try to figure out how the recovery will continue to play out and what the economy might look like after the pandemic recedes.

Wall Street is also looking further ahead, though 2021 and into 2022, and trying to gauge economic growth following the sharp rebound early this year. A key concern remains the potential for “stagflation,” said Jay Hatfield, CEO of Infrastructure Capital Advisors. That’s when inflation continues rising while economic growth slows or stalls. Most analysts expect growth to continue moderating as the pandemic fades and the U.S. government and Federal Reserve ease their support.

“How do we get from hypergrowth to stagflation, how do you price that in?” he said. “That’s a key overhang.”

Investors are also monitoring the latest round of corporate earnings and forecasts for a clearer picture of how companies are faring as people resume activities that were normal before the pandemic shut down businesses, workplaces and social gatherings. The reports have so far been mostly solid.

American Express jumped 3.8% as spending at restaurants, shops and entertainment venues fueled a second-quarter revenue surge and solid profits. Twitter rose 3.9% after blowing past Wall Street’s second-quarter profit forecasts on growing advertising demand.

Snap, the parent company of social media app Snapchat, soared 21.1% after reporting results that were much better than expected.

Intel, which also reported solid second-quarter earnings, fell 5.5% over concerns that supply chain problems could hurt the company. Supply problems are causing a chip shortage worldwide that is impacting a variety of industries while demand continues rising.

Boston Beer Co., which brews Samuel Adams, plunged 23.4% after reporting weak second-quarter financial results as sales of its hard seltzer fizzled.

European stocks rose, while stocks in Asia were mixed.

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