Stocks edge up, and crude oil rises – Los Angeles Times

This post was originally published on this site

U.S. stocks edged higher in early trading Friday as investors sized up quarterly results from JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup and other big banks. Big-dividend stocks like utilities and real estate companies led the gainers, while financial-sector firms declined the most. Retailers rose despite new data indicating sales declined in June for the second month in a row.

KEEPING SCORE: The Standard & Poor’s 500 index was up 3 points, or 0.2%, to 2,451 as of 10:22 a.m. Eastern time. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 19 points, or 0.1%, to 21,572. The Nasdaq composite advanced 12 points, or 0.2%, to 6,286. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks was up less than 1 point to 1,425.

ECONOMIC SNAPSHOTS: Investors were also weighing data on retail sales and inflation at the consumer level Friday. The Commerce Department said sales fell 0.2% in June as Americans curtailed spending at restaurants, department stores and gasoline stations. That followed a 0.1% drop in May. Meanwhile, the Labor Department said U.S. consumer prices were flat in June, the latest evidence that inflation remains muted.

QUARTERLY RESULTS: Several big banks kicked off the second-quarter earnings season. Among them were JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup and Wells Fargo, each of which posted results that beat Wall Street’s expectations.

Even so, financial shares were broadly lower as bond yields fell. Lower bond yields force interest rates on loans lower, which makes it harder for banks to make money from lending. JPMorgan stock fell 1.6% to $91.63. Citigroup was down 1% to $66.36. Wells Fargo slid 2.5% to $54.22.

HOT FOR TECH: Technology companies were among the big gainers. NetApp rose 5.1% to $43.50.

RETAILERS RALLY: Despite the June decline in sales, investors were bidding up shares in several retail chains. Ulta Beauty climbed 2.3% to $263.33, Gap rose 2.4% to $23.33, and Best Buy went up 2.5% to $56.04.

BONDS: Bond prices rose sharply. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 2.30% from 2.35% late Thursday.

OIL: Benchmark U.S. crude rose 54 cents, or 1.2%, to $46.65 a barrel on New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, used to price international oils, was up 50 cents, or 1%, to $48.92 a barrel in London.

CURRENCIES: The dollar weakened to 112.39 yen from 113.23 yen late Thursday. The euro rose to $1.1456 from $1.1406.

MARKETS OVERSEAS: Germany’s DAX was down 0.3%. The CAC 40 in France slipped 0.2%. The FTSE 100 index of leading British shares declined 0.3%. In Asia, Japan’s Nikkei 225 ticked up 0.1%, and South Korea’s Kospi and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index each rose 0.2%.