The major Wall Street stock indexes took a breather on Friday with two even settling lower after posting record highs earlier in the week. Traders blamed the weakness on losses in blue-chip technology stalwarts Intel and IBM following their quarterly results, as hopes dimmed for a full economic reopening in the coming months.
Cash Market Performances
In the cash market on Friday, the benchmark S&P 500 Index settled at 3841.47, down 11.60 or -0.34%. The blue chip Dow Jones Industrial Average finished at 30996.98, down 179.03 or -0.65% and the technology-based NASDAQ Composite closed at 13543.06, up 12.14 or +0.11%.
U.S. stocks were under pressure before the cash market opening because of the IBM miss and weak PMI data out of Europe. Investors took profits in Asia and Europe ahead of the weekend, leading to a drop in investor sentiment.
The S&P 500 and the NASDAQ pared some losses after the opening bell as data showed U.S. manufacturing activity surprisingly surged to its highest level in more than 13-1/2 years in early January, in contrast to a disappointing result in the purchasing manager data in Europe earlier.
Existing Home Sales surged to 6.76 million units, beating the 6.55 million unit forecast and the previously reported 6.71 million units.
White House Coronavirus Update
In a White House event on Thursday, President Biden painted a bleak picture of the nation’s coronavirus outbreak in his first few days in office, warning that it will take months to turn around the pandemic’s trajectory and that fatalities are expected to dramatically rise over the next few weeks.
Biden said the U.S. death toll from the pandemic will probably top 500,000 next month.
Yellen Nomination Sails Through Senate Panel; Final Vote Set for Monday
The U.S. Senate Finance Committee on Friday unanimously approved Janet Yellen’s nomination as the first woman Treasury Secretary, indicating that she will win full Senate approval, but Republicans called for her to work with them in developing economic policies.
Stocks Making Headlines
IBM Corp slumped 9.83% and was the top drag on the Dow Jones Industrial Average after it missed estimates for quarterly revenue, hurt by a rare sales decline in its software unit.
Intel Corp shed 8.93% as new Chief Executive Officer Pat Gelsinger’s post-earnings comments suggested the lack of a strong embrace of outsourcing.
For a look at all of today’s economic events, check out our economic calendar.