Stocks Brush Off North Korea's Latest Missile Launch

By Akane Otani Features Dow Jones Newswires

U.S. stocks rose to weekly gains, capping off a stretch that included four straight records for the Dow Jones Industrial Average.

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Major indexes have rebounded 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 points, or 0.3%, to 22267 on Friday, notching its 39th record of the year and its sixth consecutive session of gains.

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The S&P 500 added 0.2% and the Nasdaq Composite rose 0.3%.

Shares of energy companies in the S&P 500 added 0.3% on Friday, on course for their biggest one-week gain since September 2016.

Energy stocks have risen with U.S. crude prices in recent sessions, buoyed by data showing that inventories are shrinking and global demand is expected to pick up. 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, heading toward 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 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 16:31 ET (20:31 GMT)