US equities fight for direction, but indices are on track for weekly gains

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US stocks opened slightly lower on Friday, but major benchmarks remained on track for weekly gains after the S&P 500 Index and Nasdaq Composite posted a record finish in the previous session. What are the major benchmarks doing? The Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, -0.14% traded both sides unchanged, down 8.51 points at 31,439.21. The S&P 500 SPX, -0.07%, was down 5.10 points, or 0.1%, to 3,911.28. The Nasdaq Composite COMP, -0.23% lost 70.15 points, or 0.5%, to trade at 13,955.63. The Dow Jones fell 7.10 points, or less than 0.1%, on Thursday, retreating from the record close of the previous session, while the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq Composite rose slightly, finishing at records after two days of trading. small losses. Stocks were on their way to weekly gains but have seen choppy trading. Support remains tied to expectations that Congress will pass another round of aid spending closer to President Joe Biden‘s $ 1.9 trillion proposal, as well as optimism about the continued rollout of COVID-19 vaccines and the pace. decreasing number of new cases.

A House committee approved half of Biden’s relief plan Thursday, advancing payments of $ 1.4 billion to millions of Americans along with other measures opposed by Republican lawmakers. The United States is on track to exceed Biden’s goal of administering 100 million doses of vaccines in his first 100 days in office, with more than 26 million injections administered in the last three weeks. About 34.7 million of about 331 million Americans have received at least their first dose of vaccine, according to the CDC. Last week an average of 1.62 million doses were administered per day. Biden said Thursday that the United States will have enough COVID-19 vaccine by late summer to inoculate 300 million Americans. “While risks persist, the data says we are moving beyond the third wave of the pandemic and medical risks may be decreasing. Similarly, while the economic damage has been real, with economies reopening and federal stimulus supporting the most vulnerable parts of the economy, we are getting through the worst, ”said Brad McMillan, chief economist at the Commonwealth Financial Network, at a note. . “The most likely case for the next few weeks appears to be continued improvement in medical news, as well as economic improvement as reopens take effect,” he said. “Markets are likely to continue rebounding with new developments, so expect more volatility in the near term.” Corporate earnings have also been a positive factor, analysts said. As of Thursday, fourth-quarter earnings per share surpassed year-earlier levels and four-quarter moving EPS is now expected to hit records in the second quarter, said Jonathan Golub, Credit Suisse’s chief US equity strategist. , on a note. “The earnings recovery has been substantially stronger than we could have imagined when the pandemic first took hold,” he said. Activity could be subdued on Friday. Much of Asia was closed for the holidays, while US investors braced for a three-day weekend. US markets will be closed on Monday for Presidents’ Day. The economic calendar is light on Friday. A preliminary reading of consumer confidence for February will take place at 10 am ET. What companies do you focus on? Shares of Walt Disney Co. DIS, -1.11%, rose 1.1% after the entertainment giant posted a surprise fourth-quarter profit Thursday night, which came as a surge in subscriptions a Disney + caused a rebound in revenue from the previous quarter. S&P Global Ratings said Thursday afternoon that it had downgraded Chevron Corp. CVX’s bonds, -0.88% to AA-, from AA, with a stable outlook. Shares of the oil giant fell 0.6%. Shares of Cloudflare Inc.NET, -5.70%, were down 5.4% after the cybersecurity company’s results and outlook beat Wall Street expectations on Thursday. The shares have risen nearly 400% over the past 12 months. Expedia Group Inc. EXPE, + 0.03% on Thursday night reported results showing the continuing effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the travel industry, with bookings and gross revenue plummeting 67% in the fourth quarter. The shares fell 1%. Shares of Coherent Inc. soared 12%, after The Wall Street Journal reported that II-VI Inc. IIVI, -5.05% plans to make an offer of approximately $ 6.5 billion for the laser technology company. IIVI shares fell more than 7%. What are other markets doing? The yield on the 10-year Treasury note TMUBMUSD10Y, 1,190%, rose 1.6 basis points to 1,177%. Yields and bond prices move in opposite directions. The ICE US Dollar Index DXY, + 0.32%, a measure of the currency against a basket of six major rivals, was up 0.3%. Oil futures were almost unchanged, with the US benchmark CL.1 down -0.21% from 4 cents at $ 58.20 a barrel. GC00 Gold Futures, -0.71%, were on the defensive, down 0.5% to $ 1,817.80 an ounce. The pan-European Stoxx 600 SXXP index, + 0.20% and the London UKX FTSE 100 stock index, + 0.19% both rose 0.2%. The Hong Kong and Shanghai markets were closed for the Lunar New Year holidays. Japan’s Nikkei 225 NIK Index, -0.14% lost 0.1%.