Belfast Telegraph

Materials firms break Dow's five-day losing streak

Materials companies led US stocks modestly higher on Friday, recouping much of the market's loss from a day earlier and snapping a five-day losing streak for the Dow Jones industrial average.

Another crop of encouraging company earnings news also helped lift the market, but investors were mostly focused on events in Washington as Donald Trump was sworn in as the 45th president of the United States.

The major stock indexes pulled back slightly as Trump delivered remarks after taking the oath of office. Among topics of particular interest to Wall Street, the speech touched on trade and the Trump administration's intention of protecting the US from "the ravages of other countries making our products, stealing our companies, and destroying our jobs".

"The market is still embracing the Trump agenda, based on the market's reaction to the speech," said Quincy Krosby, market strategist at Prudential Financial. "Now the question the market has is, specifically, what does all of that mean in terms of trade?"

The Dow rose 94.85 points, or 0.5%, to 19,827.25. The Standard & Poor's 500 index gained 7.62 points, or 0.3%, to 2,271.31. The Nasdaq composite index added 15.25 points, or 0.3%, to 5,555.33.

Despite Friday's gains, the three major stock indexes ended the week lower.

Stocks have slowed in 2017 after surging for several weeks following Election Day on investor optimism that a Trump administration and Republican Congress would usher in business-friendly policies. But the possibility of increased tariffs or trade restrictions has also loomed as a potential drag in profits for big US companies.

Typically, stocks don't do well on inauguration day. Going back to 1928, the S&P has averaged a drop of 1.05% on inauguration days, according Bespoke Investment Group.

Beyond the presidential transition in Washington, investors pored over the latest batch of corporate earnings, bidding up shares in companies that reported results that beat Wall Street's expectations.

Skyworks Solutions jumped 13%, the biggest gainer in the S&P 500. The stock climbed 10.21 dollars to 88.67 dollars. Citizens Financial Group gained 1.09 dollars, or 3.1%, to 35.82 dollars.

Traders also drove up shares in Procter & Gamble after the consumer goods maker released a strong growth forecast. The stock added 2.75 dollars, or 3.2%, to 87.45 dollars.

Major stock indexes overseas were mixed.

Germany's DAX rose 0.3%, while Britain's FTSE 100 fell 0.1%. France's CAC 40 added 0.2%. In Asia, Hong Kong's Hang Seng shed 0.7% after the Chinese government said the economy grew at a 6.8% annual rate in the last quarter, even as full-year growth increased 6.7%, the weakest in three decades. Tokyo's Nikkei 225 index rose 0.3%.

In currency trading, the dollar fell to 114.31 yen from Thursday's 114.80 yen. The euro rose to 1.0707 dollars from 1.0659 dollars. The British pound edged up to 1.2378 dollars from 1.2337 dollars.