Financial Markets: Down flirts with 20,000 again, falls just short
By MARLEY JAY
The Associated Press
NEW YORK — The Dow Jones industrial average came tantalizingly close to breaking the 20,000 mark for the first time on Friday, but fell just short.
Following a shaky start, the Dow climbed to 19,999.63 at 12:40 p.m. before finishing the day at 19,964. Ho
However, the Standard & Poor's 500 index did finish at a record high, as it avoided declining by 1 percent or more for the 60th consecutive day. That is the longest stretch without a market drop since a 66-day streak in the summer of 2014, LPL Financial's Ryan Detrick told CNN Money.
The Labor Department said U.S. employers added 156,000 jobs in December, slightly less than analysts expected. That follows a private payrolls report Thursday that also didn't quite meet expectations. However the government said hourly pay jumped 2.9 percent from December 2015, the biggest increase in seven years. Overall, job growth remained steady in 2016 but slowed a bit from 2015.
It took a while for investors to decide how they felt about the report. But Sam Stovall, a U.S. equity strategist for S&P Capital IQ, said there was good news for most industries. He said workers are being paid more, but the report won't push the Federal Reserve to rapidly raise interest rates to stave off inflation.
"Consumers are earning a bit more and as a result can spend more," he said. "But ... people are not too worried the Fed will have to slam on the brakes."
TECH STOCKS SOAR
Some of the biggest gains went to companies that stand to benefit from higher wages and greater spending by consumers. Those included technology and consumer-focused companies. Facebook rose $2.91, or 2.4 percent, to $123.58 while Apple gained $1.44, or 1.2 percent, to $118.05. Amazon had its second big gain in a row and added $18.29, or 2.3 percent, to $798.74 while TripAdvisor picked up $1.61, or 3.3 percent, to $50.81. Industrial companies, which have climbed since the presidential election two months ago, also fared well. Machinery and equipment maker Honeywell rose $1.86, or 1.6 percent, to $118.62.
Bond prices fell. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 2.42 percent from 2.35 percent. Higher bond yields mean higher interest rates, which allow banks to make more money on lending. Banks did better than the rest of the market Friday afternoon. U.S. Bancorp added 42 cents to $51.39. Among other financial firms, Goldman Sachs jumped $4.07, or 1.7 percent, to $245.39.
Companies that pay large dividends, including phone companies, utilities and household goods makers, lagged the market. Those stocks are often compared to bonds because of the steady income they provide. AT&T gave up 82 cents, or 2 percent, to $41.34 and Wal-Mart fell 91 cents, or 1.3 percent, to $68.30.
DAY IN COURT
Amgen climbed and Sanofi and Regeneron Pharmaceuticals fell after a court moved to block sales of Sanofi and Regeneron's cholesterol drug Praluent. A federal jury ruled in March that Praluent infringes on two patents that belong to Amgen. Both are costly biotech drugs designed to be injected once or twice a month. Sanofi and Regeneron said they will appeal the ruling, which came from U.S. District Court in Delaware.
Amgen stock gained $4, or 2.6 percent, to $157.98 while Regeneron slid $20.16, or 5.3 percent, to $360.76 and Sanofi lost $1.04, or 2.5 percent, to $40.4
Medical device maker ICU Medical sank as the company said a business it is buying continues to weaken. It agreed to buy an infusion systems business from Pfizer in October. ICU will pay less money, but it said the division's sales are still falling, so it expects less profit from the deal. Its stock lost $14.01, or 9.5 percent, to $133.34.
The dollar rose to 116.97 yen from 115.62 yen after a dip on Thursday. The euro slipped to $1.0542 from $1.0590.
U.S. crude oil rose 23 cents to close at $53.99 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, which is used to price oil sold internationally, added 21 cents to close at $57.10 a barrel in London.
Wholesale gasoline slipped less than 1 cent to $1.63 a gallon. Heating oil rose 1 cent to $1.70 a gallon. Natural gas rose 1 cent to $3.29 per 1,000 cubic feet.
Gold fell $7.90 to $1,173.40 an ounce. Silver sank 12 cents to $16.52 an ounce. Copper rose 1 cent to $2.55 a pound.
The FTSE 100 index in Britain inched up 0.2 percent. It's risen nine days in a row and is at all-time highs. Germany's DAX edged up 0.1 percent and the CAC-40 of France rose 0.2 percent. Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 index lost 0.3 percent while the Kospi in South Korea added 0.4 percent. In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng advanced 0.2 percent.
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