Dow Posts Biggest Weekly Gain of 2017

By Akane Otani Features Dow Jones Newswires

The Dow Jones Industrial Average posted its biggest one-week gain of the year, capping off a stretch that included four consecutive record closes.

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Major indexes have risen in recent sessions, with the S&P 500, Dow industrials and Nasdaq Composite notching fresh closing highs together on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Fears around worst-case scenarios for storm damage that had pressured stocks last week have largely subsided, investors and analysts say, helping drive stocks and government bond yields higher.

Stocks also remained buoyant after the latest provocation from North Korea, which fired a missile over Japan for the second time in a month late Thursday.

"In general, and the markets have kind of figured this out, geopolitical events are fairly short lived. You have to be careful of them and they will create stress moments in the market, perhaps corrections, but they don't tend to last," said Matthew Peron, head of global equities for Northern Trust Asset Management.

The Dow industrials rose 64.86 points, or 0.3%, to 22268.34 on Friday, notching its 39th record of the year and its sixth consecutive session of gains. The index rose 2.2% for the week.

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The S&P 500 added 4.61 points, or 0.2%, to a fresh closing high of 2500.23 and the Nasdaq Composite rose 19.38 points, or 0.3%, to 6448.47.

Shares of energy companies rallied, rising with U.S. crude prices after data showed that inventories are shrinking and that global demand is expected to pick up.

The S&P 500 energy sector added 0.3% on Friday and posted its biggest one-week gain since September 2016.

U.S. crude for October delivery finished the week up 5.1% at $49.89 a barrel.

Financial stocks added 0.5% in the S&P 500 on Friday, notching their fourth advance in five sessions, as bond yields edged higher. Banks benefit from higher rates since they boost their net-interest margins, a key measure of lending profitability.

Government bond prices fell for a fifth consecutive trading session, with the yield on the 10-year U.S. Treasury note rising to 2.202% from 2.199% on Thursday. Yields rise as bond prices fall.

Even as stocks traded around all-time highs, signs of caution remained. Some investors say there are few reasons to extend bets ahead of several potential risks, including the negotiations over a potential Republican tax plan and next week's Federal Reserve meeting.

While a series of muted inflation readings had left many investors skeptical the Fed would raise rates a third time this year, data Thursday showing a rebound in U.S. consumer prices made some rethink their bets.

Federal-funds futures, used by investors to place bets on the Federal Reserve's rate-policy outlook, showed late Friday a roughly 58% chance of a rate increase by the end of the year, up from 31% a week ago, according to data from CME Group.

The stock rally could stall if the Fed moves toward normalizing monetary policy more aggressively than expected, investors and analysts say.

Elsewhere, the U.K.'s FTSE 100 fell 1.1% and finished at its lowest level since April, weighed down by a rally in the pound. The currency jumped this week after the Bank of England signaled that it is preparing to raise rates in response to a pickup in inflation.

Japan's Nikkei Stock Average added 0.5%, rising for the fourth time in five trading sessions.

Marina Force contributed to this article.

Write to Akane Otani at akane.otani@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

September 15, 2017 17:03 ET (21:03 GMT)