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US stocks finish mixed as Amazon leads retail rally while Exxon dips

The Dow Jones industrial average lost 11.15 points, or less than 0.1%, to 24311.19.

US stocks finished with a split decision on Friday after a wobbly day of trading.

Amazon led a rally among retailers, but Exxon Mobil dragged energy companies lower to end an uneven week on Wall Street.

So far the first quarter has been a strong one for US companies, but it has not thrilled investors.

Amazon, Microsoft and Expedia all climbed after reporting earnings, but Exxon, Charter Communications and Starbucks all slumped.

High-dividend companies like utilities rose as bond yields slipped, but defence contractors fell.

Asian stocks rose following the landmark summit of the leaders from North and South Korea.

This week investors worried that rising raw materials costs, as well as higher interest rates and wages, could eat into corporate profits.

There's reason to think things are very, very good, but not overheating. That's a great environment for earnings Karyn Cavanaugh, senior market strategist for Voya Investment Strategies

Meanwhile they were pleased with strong results from Facebook, Amazon, Microsoft and others.

The S&P 500 index finished the week almost exactly where it started.

Karyn Cavanaugh, senior market strategist for Voya Investment Strategies, said investors have not regained their confidence since February’s market plunge.

But in her view, the economy continues to do well and there are few signs that inflation or wages are about to rocket higher, an outcome that could dent corporate profits.

“There’s reason to think things are very, very good, but not overheating. That’s a great environment for earnings,” she said. “The market is getting a little bit spoiled.”

The S&P 500 index gained 2.97 points, or 0.1%, to 2669.91.

The Dow Jones industrial average lost 11.15 points, or less than 0.1%, to 24311.19.

The Nasdaq composite rose 1.12 points to 7119.80.

The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks lost 1.66 points, or 0.1%, to 1,556.24.

Most of the stocks on the New York Stock Exchange finished higher.

Amazon said its first-quarter profit more than doubled as consumers shopped more online and revenue from its cloud computing business continued to rise.

The results were far stronger than Wall Street expected and the stock jumped 3.6%, adding to Thursday’s 4% gain.

Amazon also said it will hike the price of an annual Prime membership to 119 dollars from 99 dollars in the US.

Amazon recovered the last of its losses from late March and early April.

It slumped after President Donald Trump repeatedly criticised the company over issues including sales tax collection and its contracts with the US Postal Service.

The US economy grew 2.3% in the first quarter, better than experts had forecast.

While consumer spending turned in the weakest performance in nearly five years, experts think it will pick up later in the year thanks to continued low unemployment and Republican-backed tax cuts.

Bond prices rose again. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 2.96% from 2.98% on Thursday.

It hit four-year highs recently and peaked at 3.03% earlier this week. High-yield stocks like household goods makers and utilities moved up.

Even with help from climbing oil prices Exxon Mobil’s results still fell short of estimates and its stock dropped 3.8% to 77.79 dollars.

The leaders of North and South Korea vowed to seek a nuclear-free peninsula and work towards a formal end to the Korean War this year, although they offered few specifics about how they would achieve those goals.

As part of the summit, Kim Jong Un became the first North Korean leader to visit South Korea since 1953, when the two sides signed an armistice that left them still technically at war.

Later Kim and South Korean President Moon Jae-in briefly stepped into North Korea together.

Seoul’s Kospi was 0.7% higher and Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 added 0.7%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng advanced 0.9%.

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