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US Stocks Close Lower                  07/19 16:49

   U.S. stocks pulled further back from their records on Friday to cap the 
weakest week for the S&P 500 since May.

   NEW YORK (AP) -- U.S. stocks pulled further back from their records on 
Friday to cap the weakest week for the S&P 500 since May.

   Indexes sloshed between small gains and losses for much of the day before 
turning lower in the afternoon after Iran said it seized a British oil tanker, 
the latest escalation of tensions between Tehran and the West. Reined-in 
expectations for how deeply the Federal Reserve will cut interest rates at its 
next meeting also weighed on stocks.

   The S&P 500 fell 18.50 points, or 0.6%, to 2,976.61. After setting its 
record high on Monday, the index see-sawed mostly lower and lost 1.2% for the 
week. It's just the second down week for the index in the last seven.

   The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 68.77, or 0.3%, to 27,154.20, and the 
Nasdaq composite lost 60.75, or 0.7%, to 8,146.49.

   Momentum for stocks has slowed since early June, when they began soaring on 
expectations that the Federal Reserve will cut interest rates for the first 
time in a decade to ensure the U.S. economy doesn't succumb to weaknesses 
abroad. The Fed's next meeting is scheduled for the end of this month.

   Late Thursday, Treasury yields sank after comments by Fed officials raised 
expectations that it may cut rates by half a percentage point, rather than the 
typical quarter point. But yields climbed Friday as the market grew more 
convinced that the Fed will cut just 0.25 percentage points on July 31.

   "It could be 25 wasted," said Brent Schutte, chief investment strategist at 
Northwestern Mutual Wealth Management Company, who said a half-point cut would 
be more effective. "I think it's more important to shock the market a bit and 
convince the market they're serious about pushing inflation above 2%."

   The yield on the 10-year Treasury rose to 2.05% from 2.04% late Thursday. 
The two-year yield, which is more influenced by expectations of Fed moves on 
rates, climbed to 1.81% from 1.77%.

   Until the Fed's meeting, investors are focusing on whether companies can top 
the meager expectations Wall Street has for the profits they made during the 
spring.

   Microsoft jumped in morning trading after reporting stronger earnings for 
April through June than analysts expected, though it faded as the afternoon 
progressed and ended the day with just a 0.1% gain.

   Several banks climbed after reporting stronger-than-expected earnings, but 
financial stocks in the S&P 500 were down overall. That was partly because of a 
2.8% drop for American Express, which reported stronger earnings for the latest 
quarter than analysts forecast but did not raise its forecast for full-year 
earnings.

   "The biggest overall trend is if you beat, you may be mildly rewarded, and 
if you miss, you are going to get pounded," said J.J. Kinahan, chief market 
strategist for TD Ameritrade.

   Energy stocks had the biggest gains in the S&P 500 after the price of oil 
climbed on worries about possible supply disruptions.

   Britain's foreign secretary said Iranian authorities seized two vessels in 
the Strait of Hormuz, one British-flagged and the other under Liberia's flag. 
The move comes two days after the United States said it downed an Iranian drone 
in the strait, which is a key waterway for moving oil.

   Benchmark U.S. crude oil climbed 33 cents, or 0.6%, to settle at $55.63 
after being down earlier in the day. Brent crude, the international standard, 
rose 54 cents, or 0.9%, to $62.47 per barrel.

   Boeing had one of the biggest gains in the S&P 500, even though it said it 
will take a $4.9 billion charge to cover possible compensation it will pay 
airlines following the grounding of its 737 Max jet. That's a huge number, 
analysts concede, but it may provide some certainty to investors who had 
worried the payments could be much higher. Boeing also said the figure assumes 
its 737 Max jets return to service later this year, which would be earlier than 
some investors thought.

   Boeing shares rose 4.5% and helped drive industrial stocks to one of the 
biggest gains of the 11 sectors that make up the S&P 500, at 0.5%.

   In the commodities markets, wholesale gasoline rose 1 cent to $1.84 per 
gallon. Heating oil climbed 3 cents to $1.89 per gallon. Natural gas fell 4 
cents to $2.25 per 1,000 cubic feet.

   Gold fell $1.00 to $1,425.10 per ounce, silver was unchanged at $16.12 per 
ounce and copper rose 4 cents to $2.74 per pound.

   The dollar rose to 107.81 Japanese yen from 107.52 yen on Thursday. The euro 
weakened to $1.1219 from $1.1266.

   Asian stock markets were strong, with Japan's Nikkei 225 index up 2%, South 
Korea's Kospi gaining 1.3% and the Hang Seng in Hong Kong up 1.1%.

   The FTSE 100 in London added 0.2%, the German Dax rose 0.3% and the French 
CAC 40 was virtually flat. 


(BE)

 
 
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