Stocks Claw Into Positive Territory To End The Week

Michael Teague  |

Stocks mounted a late-day comeback on Friday as indices lurched their way into the green just before the conclusion of the week’s trading activities.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 ended the day at 1,691.65 points, an advance of 0.08 percent, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 0.02 percent higher at 15,558.83 points, and the NADAQ added another 8 points, 0.22 percent, to finish at 3,613.16.

Economic data was sparse, but modestly encouraging. The University of Michigan’s July consumer confidence survey was released, indicating that the headline index rose from June’s 84.1 to 85.1 in July, while economists were expecting a decline to 84 and preliminary findings early in the month predicted a drop to 83.9. The results are encouraging as they indicate consumers are holding steady despite higher gas and food prices.

Meanwhile, the usual concern over what the Fed will do next with fiscal policy is being complicated by the question of who will head of the US Central Bank next year. While many have taken it as a given that Janet Yellen will replace Bernanke next year, there has been considerable talk over the last few days that Larry Summers is in fact the favored replacement.

Otherwise, the continuing blizzard of earnings reports served as the driving force behind stocks.

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Starbucks (SBUX) led gainers on the S&P 500, advancing 7.6 percent to close at $73.36 after the company reported earnings late Thursday indicating top and bottom line beats, with revenue especially coming in well ahead of estimates.

Shares for oilfield services company Halliburton (HAL) ended the day nearly 4 percent higher after the company pleaded guilty to destroying evidence related to 2010’s Deepwater Horizon disaster that spilled millions of barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico. The plea was part of a settlement with the Department of Justice that includes a $200,000 fine and a 3-year probationary period. The company’s board also voted to approve a $3.3 billion share-repurchasing program.

Aerospace and defense juggernaut Boeing (BA) created an undertow on the Dow after continuing problems with its new 787 Dreamliner planes. The company ended the day 1 percent lower to $105.60.

On the NASDAQ, online travel company Expedia Inc. (EXPE) watched as its stock nearly collapsed, dropping over 27 percent to end the day at $47.20 after reporting second quarter earnings that were $0.15 short of analyst expectations.

Facebook (FB) ended the day 1 percent lower after the company’s earnings report release late Wednesday sent shares soaring about 30 percent during Thursday trading. The stock ended the day at $34.

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