US stock indexes move higher in late-afternoon trading

Friday, January 19, 2018, Vol. 42, No. 3
The Associated Press

Retailers and consumer goods companies led U.S. stock indexes higher in late-afternoon trading Friday, on track to end the week with a gain. Energy companies were the biggest laggard as the price of crude oil declined. Utilities also fell as bond yields rose to their highest level in more than three years. Investors were monitoring developments in Washington ahead of a possible federal government shutdown this weekend.

KEEPING SCORE: The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 11 points, or 0.4 percent, to 2,809 as of 3:32 p.m. Eastern Time. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 38 points, or 0.2 percent, to 26,056. The Nasdaq added 38 points, or 0.5 percent, to 7,334. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks picked up 17 points, or 1.1 percent, to 1,594. The S&P 500 was on course for its eighth weekly gain in the past nine weeks.

SHUTDOWN SHOWDOWN: Despite an eleventh-hour effort to reach an agreement, Republicans and Democrats appeared no closer to averting a government shutdown at midnight Friday. After an afternoon meeting with President Donald Trump, Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said the discussions would continue after having made "some progress." U.S. House lawmakers voted late Thursday for a stopgap funding bill to keep federal agency doors open until mid-February, but Senate Democrats and some Republicans threatened to block it. Democrats want the bill to include protections for younger immigrants who were brought to the U.S. illegally as children.

THE QUOTE: "We expect the market to move past it and not to be too caught off guard if that were to happen." Jeramey Lynch, global investment specialist with J.P. Morgan Private Bank in Michigan, predicting that any federal government shutdown would be brief and cause relatively little disruption, similar to past shutdowns.

BOND YIELDS: Bond prices fell. The yield on the 10-year Treasury rose to 2.64 percent from 2.63 percent late Thursday. That's the highest level since September 2014. The gain in yields weighed on bond-proxy stocks, such as utilities. Exelon declined 61 cents, or 1.6 percent, to $37.98.

RISING RETAIL: Investors bid up shares in retailers, cruise lines and other consumer-focused companies. Toy maker Mattel led the pack, climbing 93 cents, or 6.1 percent, to $16.16.

NOT A DRAG: Tobacco companies, beverage makers and other consumer products stocks rose. Altria Group gained 92 cents, or 1.3 percent, to $70.95. Philip Morris International picked up $3.57, or 3.4 percent, to $108.64.

BOARDROOM MAKEOVER: Lowe's rose 3.1 percent after the home-improvement supply retailer named three new directors. The stock added $3.13 to $104.49.

BIG DECLINER: IBM slumped 3.9 percent despite a solid fourth-quarter report. The technology and consulting company was the biggest decliner in the Dow. The stock was down $6.57 to $162.55.

NOT BUYING: American Express fell 1.8 percent after the credit card issuer suspended its share buy-back program for six months following a big one-time tax charge. The stock shed $1.79 to $98.07.

ENERGY: Oil futures closed lower after the International Energy Agency said U.S. oil production would rise sharply this year. Benchmark U.S. crude lost 58 cents, or 0.9 percent, to settle at $63.37 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, used to price international oils, fell 70 cents, or 1 percent, to close at $68.61 a barrel.

The decline in oil prices weighed on energy sector stocks. Range Resources slid 38 cents, or 2.3 percent, to $16.09.

METALS: Gold rose $5.90 to $1,333.10 an ounce. Silver added 8 cents to $17.04 an ounce. Copper slipped 1 cent to $3.19 a pound.

CURRENCIES: The dollar fell to 110.60 yen from 110.98 yen on Thursday. The euro weakened to $1.2234 from $1.2242.

BITCOIN: The price of bitcoin edged up 0.3 percent to $11,286, according to the tracking site CoinDesk. Bitcoin futures on the Cboe Futures Exchange were down 4.5 percent to $11,240. The futures allow investors to make bets on the future price of bitcoin.

MARKETS OVERSEAS: Major stock indexes in Europe notched gains. Germany's DAX rose 1.2 percent and France's CAC 40 added 0.6 percent. Britain's FTSE 100 gained 0.4 percent. In Asia, Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 edged up 0.2 percent, while South Korea's Kospi gained 0.2 percent. Hong Kong's Hang Seng ended 0.4 percent higher.