Major indexes edged higher, notching weekly gains as some investor fears about an escalation in trade disputes abated. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 8.68 points, or less than 0.1%, to 26154.67. The S&P 500 ticked up 0.80 points, or less than 0.1%, to 2905.98, a day after the index notched its biggest gain in two weeks on Thursday. The Nasdaq Composite slipped 3.67 points, or less than 0.1%, to 8010.04, though it joined the other two major indexes in posting weekly gains. One driver of stocks’ advances this week is technology companies, which had been one of the prior week’s biggest decliners. He added that he’ll be watching Oracle’s earnings next week as a way to monitor health in the sector. This week, technology companies in the S&P 500 rose 1.8%, with the PHLX Semiconductor Index up 1.1%. Apple shares have risen 1.1% this week after the company announced a new lineup of mobile devices. Consumer companies declined Friday after U.S. retail-sales data showed American consumers reined in their spending in August, taking a breather after very strong sales growth in July. The data comes as U.S. wages rose in August, with private-sector hourly wages growing 2.9% from a year earlier, the fastest pace since mid-2009.
Metals prices copped a battering after fresh reports of more China tariffs spooked investors and sent the U.S. dollar higher. Gold and copper both opened higher but ended in the red after Bloomberg reported that President Trump had instructed aides to push ahead with tariffs on around $200 billion of Chinese products. Both metals had been creeping higher earlier in the week amid hopes that fresh talks between the U.S. and China could help resolve the trade dispute. The price of gold for September delivery fell 0.58% to $1,195 a troy ounce on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange on Friday, unwinding some of its gains from earlier in the week. Copper for September delivery was also down, falling 1.39% to $2.40 a pound on the Comex division. The rise in the U.S. dollar has weighed on the gold price in recent months, but weakness in the currency earlier in the week had helped gold make up lost ground. But that recovery was wiped out on Friday as the dollar climbed higher on the latest tariff news as well as positive economic data.
IRON ORE: 68.65s + 0.27 (October contract)
Oil prices rebounded from big losses a day earlier as investors eyed strong global demand, shrinking crude exports from Iran and low U.S. oil inventories. Light, sweet crude for October delivery ended 0.6% higher at $68.99 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The U.S. benchmark oil prices ended the week nearly 2% higher from where it began. Brent crude, the global benchmark, slipped 0.1% to $78.09 a barrel. The government’s Energy Information Administration on Wednesday reported U.S. commercial crude oil inventories fell by 5.3 million barrels last week to 396 million barrels, the lowest since 2015. Oil prices pared some of their gains Friday afternoon after a report from oilfield services company Baker Hughes that showed the total number of active oil rigs in the U.S. jumped by seven in the latest week, to 867. Despite the weekly bump higher, the total remains hemmed inside a rather tight, four-month-old range between 858 and 869.
The U.S. dollar rose after data showed that consumers are increasingly confident in their outlook for the economy. The WSJ Dollar Index, which measures the U.S. currency against a basket of 16 others, climbed 0.4% to 85.59. The dollar rose after the University of Michigan said its preliminary index of U.S. consumer sentiment had moved up to its second-highest reading since 2004. The index measured 100.8 this month, up from August’s final reading of 96.2. Economists in a Wall Street Journal survey predicted 86.1. The improvement in sentiment comes after last week’s Labor Department report that showed average hourly earnings rose 2.9% in the 12-month period ending in August, the fastest since 2009. The payroll gain marked the record 95th consecutive month of job growth-much of it near or slightly below that 200,000 monthly mark. A Commerce Department report Friday presented a mixed picture on retail sales. Purchases at retail stores and restaurants rose 0.1% from the prior month to a seasonally adjusted $509 billion in August, well below the 0.4% increase economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal had expected. Still, revised data showed retail sales rose 0.7% in July, up from an initially reported 0.5% increase.