Belfast Telegraph

US stock indexes end mostly higher on solid bank earnings

Banks led US stock indexes mostly higher on Friday, propelling the Nasdaq composite index to its fourth record high this week.

Investors welcomed quarterly earnings from JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America and Wells Fargo, all of which reported results that exceeded Wall Street's expectations.

Financial stocks also benefited from an upward move in bond yields, which will lead to higher interest rates on loans.

Real estate stocks were the biggest laggard. Shares in energy companies also closed lower as crude oil prices declined. Mixed data on US retail sales weighed on department store stocks.

Friday's crop of company earnings kicks off several weeks of corporate earnings reports, giving investors new insight into the health of Corporate America and the economy.

The Dow Jones industrial average slipped 5.27 points, or 0.03%, to 19,885.73. The average had been up by 61 points earlier in the day. The Standard & Poor's 500 index gained 4.20 points, or 0.2%, to 2,274.64. The Nasdaq added 26.63 points, or 0.5%, to 5,574.12. The index has set a record-high close six times this year.

Small-company stocks rose more than the rest of the market. The Russell 2000 index jumped 10.98 points, or 0.8%, to 1,372.05.

The major stock indexes headed higher early on in the day, as investors reacted to earnings reports from JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America and Wells Fargo. The three banking giants delivered quarterly results that exceeded Wall Street's expectations, pushing their shares higher.

JPMorgan added 46 cents, or 0.5%, to 86.70 dollars. Bank of America rose nine cents, or 0.4%, to 23.01 dollars. Wells Fargo gained 81 cents, or 1.5%, to 55.31 dollars.

Traders also reviewed the latest monthly snapshot of US retail sales, which showed that sales rose 0.6% overall in December, mainly due to a pick-up in online shopping and sales of vehicles and petrol.

The retail sales report weighed down shares of several department store chains and clothing brands. By early afternoon, the market had begun to give up some of its gains.

PVH Corp, home to Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger and other clothing brands, slid 3.82 dollars, or 4.1%, to 89.31 dollars. Nordstrom fell 83 cents, or 1.8%, to 44.20 dollars. Gap shed 34 cents, or 1.4%, to 23.66 dollars.

Traders also had their eye on companies that issued outlooks for their upcoming earnings reports.

Pandora Media climbed 6.3% after the streaming music company issued a strong revenue forecast. The company also said it will cut about 7% of its jobs to reduce costs. The stock added 76 cents to 12.765 dollars.

HomeStreet fell 6% after the real estate lender forecast disappointing fourth-quarter results. It took in fewer mortgage applications as interest rates began rising. The stock slid 1.85 dollars to 29.10 dollars.

GameStop tumbled 8.1% after the video game retailer said holiday revenue dropped because of discounts and weak sales of new Call of Duty and Titanfall games. The stock shed 1.99 dollars to 22.73 dollars.