Belfast Telegraph

S&P 500 breaks two-week losing streak

Stocks rose sending the Standard & Poor's 500 index cruising to its first winning week in the last three.

It was a relatively quiet week, with fewer shares trading hands than usual, and one where the most anticipated event was a pair of speeches expected to create only a ripple in the market.

The annual symposium of central bankers in Wyoming followed through on those expectations.

The S&P 500 rose 4.08 points, or 0.2%, to 2,443.05, and it barely budged off its course after Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen gave her speech in the morning.

The day's other headline event, a speech by European Central Bank head Mario Draghi, likewise did little to alter the course for stocks.

The Dow Jones industrial average gained 30.27 points, or 0.1%, to 21,813.67, the Nasdaq composite dipped 5.68, or 0.1%, to 6,265.64 and the Russell 2000 index of small-cap stocks rose 3.58, or 0.3%, to 1,377.45.

Central bankers have used past gatherings of economists in Jackson Hole to signal big changes in policy, and investors were listening in case this time followed suit.

But Ms Yellen focused on defending regulation of the financial industry and gave no indication of changes to interest-rate policy.

While the speech may lower her chances of getting reappointed Fed chair next year, as President Donald Trump has been in favour of reducing regulations, it did not change investors' expectations that the Fed will continue to slowly raise interest rates and prepare to pare back its 4.5 trillion dollar balance sheet.

The biggest reaction to the speeches may have been in the currency market, where the dollar fell against rivals following Ms Yellen's speech. Gains for the euro also accelerated following Mr Draghi's speech.

The dollar fell to 109.24 Japanese yen from 109.51 yen late Thursday. The euro rose to 1.1888 dollars from 1.1806 dollars, and the British pound rose to 1.2880 dollars from 1.2802 dollars.

In the stock market, design-software company Autodesk jumped to one of the biggest gains in the S&P 500 after reporting stronger results for the latest quarter than analysts expected. It gained 4.36 dollars, or 3.9%, to 114.97 dollars.

Stocks have been winding up and down since the S&P 500 set a record earlier this month. Stronger-than-expected earnings reports from big US companies have helped to support the market, while worries about politics have intermittently chipped away at confidence.

The S&P 500 climbed 0.7% this week, following losses of 0.6% and 1.4% the last two weeks.

In overseas markets, Japan's Nikkei 225 index picked up 0.5%, the Hang Seng in Hong Kong jumped 1.2% and South Korea's Kospi edged up by 0.1%. European markets were weaker. The CAC 40 in France fell 0.2%, the German DAX dipped 0.1% and the FTSE 100 in London lost 0.1%.


Weekly Business Digest Newsletter

This week's business news headlines, directly to your inbox every Tuesday.