Dow Moves To The Upside, Nasdaq Pulls Back Sharply

The major U.S. stock indexes turned in a mixed performance during trading on Friday after they all ended a volatile session on Thursday in positive territory.

While the Dow saw further upside, the Nasdaq and the S&P 500 gave back ground. The Dow rose 137.55 points or 0.4 percent to 34,721.12, but the Nasdaq tumbled 186.30 points or 1.3 percent to 13,711.00 and the S&P 500 fell 11.93 points or 0.3 percent to 4,488.28.

For the week, the tech-heavy Nasdaq plunged by 3.9 percent, the S&P 500 slumped by 1.3 percent and the Dow dipped by 0.3 percent.

Home Depot (HD) helped lead the Dow higher on the day, while financial giants Goldman Sachs (GS) and JPMorgan (JPM) also posted strong gains amid a continued increase in treasury yields.

Energy stocks also moved sharply higher on the day, benefiting from a significant increase by the price of crude oil. Crude for May delivery jumped $2.23 to $98.26 a barrel.

Reflecting the strength in the energy sector, the Philadelphia Oil Service Index spiked by 3.4 percent, while the NYSE Arca Oil Index and the NYSE Arca Natural Gas Index shot up by 2.5 percent and 2.4 percent, respectively.

Gold stocks also turned in a strong performance on the day, driving the NYSE Arca Gold Bugs Index up by 2.2 percent.

On the other hand, considerable weakness among semiconductor stocks weighed on the Nasdaq, with the Philadelphia Semiconductor Index tumbled by 2.4 percent.

Airline, networking and tobacco stocks also moved to the downside on the day, offsetting the strength in the resource sectors.

In U.S. economic news, a report released by the Commerce Department showed wholesale inventories in the U.S. surged by more than expected in the month of February.

The Commerce Department said wholesale inventories spiked by 2.5 percent in February after jumping by an upwardly revised 1.2 percent in January.

Economists had expected wholesale inventories to shoot up by 2.1 percent compared to the 0.8 percent increase originally reported for the previous month.

Next week, traders are likely to keep a close eye on reports on consumer and producer price inflation, retail sales and industrial production.

The data may impact the outlook for interest rates amid recent indications the Federal Reserve plans to tighten monetary policy more aggressively than previously anticipated.

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region moved mostly higher during trading on Friday. Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index rose by 0.4 percent, while China’s Shanghai Composite Index climbed by 0.5 percent.

The major European markets also moved to the upside on the day. While the French CAC 40 Index jumped by 1.3 percent, the German DAX Index and the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index surged by 1.5 percent and 1.6 percent, respectively.

In the bond market, treasuries extended the notable downward move seen over the past several sessions. Subsequently, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, climbed 6.1 basis points to a new three-year closing high of 2.713 percent.

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