U.S. stocks slightly advanced on Friday, with the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index erasing losses in the final 30 minutes of trading. Investors were focused on corporate earnings and consumer confidence before central-bank meetings next week.
The S&P 500 climbed 0.1% to 1,691.65 at 4 p.m. in New York, reversing an earlier drop of 0.8%. The benchmark index finished the week down less than 0.1%, snapping a four-week rally. The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 3.22 points, or less than 0.1%, to 15,558.83.
“The market has been so used to the pace of accommodation and any reduction in the accommodation could be a slight drag in the short term,” Anastasia Amoroso, a global market strategist at JPMorgan Funds, said in a phone interview for Bloomberg. “The market is in the process of an adjustment to rising rates, coming to the realization that rising rates do not mean the death of equities.”
Consumer confidence unexpectedly increased in July to the highest level in six years as Americans’ views of their finances improved, according to the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan final index of U.S. consumer sentiment. The measure advanced to 85.1 in July from 84.1 at the end of June beating estimates. Economists in a Bloomberg survey called for 84, according to the median projection after a preliminary reading of 83.9.
According to Bloomberg survey Federal Bank could start tapering bond purchases as soon as September. Chairman Ben Bernanke called for patience earlier this month as he explained it was too soon to say if economy has been strong enough to sustain itself. Investors will follow every piece of economic data, especially those of US GDP report due this week.
Activision Blizzard Inc. surged 15% to $17.46, the highest level since September 2008. The company and a management group led by Chief Executive Officer Bobby Kotick agreed to buy out most of parent Vivendi SA’s stake in the biggest U.S. video-game publisher for $8.17 billion.
Tesla Motors Inc. added 4.3% to $129.39 after Deutsche Bank AG analyst Dan Galves boosted his rating on the stock to “buy” from “hold”. He said shares of the electric-car maker could more than double in the next three to four years, citing a rise in U.S. orders and lowered concern over quality issues after a Consumer Reports review.
Expedia slumped 27% to $47.20 for the biggest retreat in the S&P 500. The online travel agency posted second-quarter earnings, excluding some items, of 64 cents a share, falling short of the 81 cents analysts predicted on average.
Vertex Pharmaceuticals Inc. declined by 7.9% to $80.71. The company said U.S. regulators placed a clinical hold on its trial of a drug for hepatitis C after patients receiving a high dose of the medicine showed signs of potential liver toxicity.