FOX Business: The Power to Prosper
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The S&P 500 logged a modest weekly gain, but it was sufficient to boost the broad-market index to its highest level since June 2008.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 1.7 points, or 0.01%, to 12983, the S&P 500 gained 2.3 points, or 0.17%, to1366 and the Nasdaq Composite rose 6.8 points, or 0.23%, to 2964.
For the week, the Dow and S&P 500 both gained 0.3%, while the Nasdaq was up 0.4%.
Health-care names were the best performers on what was a light trading day. Other winners included utility, technology and energy companies. Financials struggled the most, followed by industrial and basic materials shares.
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Drilling into the Dow components, American Express (AXP) enjoyed the biggest gains, followed by Pfizer (PFE) and Chevron (CVX). Bank of America (BAC) and Hewlett-Packard (HPQ), meanwhile, where the biggest laggards.
Oil Ends Higher for Seventh-Straight Session
Market participants have been paying close attention to commodity markets in recent days. U.S. crude oil prices soared $6.17, or 6%, to $109.77 a barrel on the week as tension has mounted between Western Countries and Iran, stoking fear that worldwide oil supplies may be reduced. Crude futures are now sitting at their highest value of 2012, having climbed for seven-straight sessions.
Elsewhere, New York Harbor RBOB gasoline jumped 14 cents, or 4.6% to $3.153 a gallon, also notching a 2012 settlement high. A gallon of regular costs $3.65 on average nationwide, up from $3.38 just a month ago, according to the AAA Fuel Gauge Report.
Consumer Sentiment, Housing Data Surprise to the Upside
Consumer sentiment picked up at the end of February to the highest level in a year. The final reading of the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan gauge rose to 75.3 in February, up from a preliminary reading of 72.5, and better than the 73.0 economists expected. Consumer confidence tends to affect buying decisions, so it may have an outsized effect on retailers and other companies that rely heavily on consumers.
Sales of new, single-family U.S. homes fell 0.9% in January from December to an annualized rate of 321,000 units, according to the Commerce Department. Economists were looking for a reading of 315,000. The housing market has been severely affected by the economic downturn, but has been showing modest signs of recovery recently, specifically regarding supply.
On the earnings front, J.C. Penney (JCP) swung to an $87 million net loss in the fourth quarter as restructuring costs took a big bite out of the retailer's bottom line. However, the company's non-GAAP results topped Wall Street's estimates.
In metals, gold fell $9.90, or 0.55%, to $1,776 a troy ounce. Silver slipped 21 cents, or 0.6%, to $35.33 a troy ounce. U.S. Treasury prices rose, pushing yields lower. The 10-year note presently yields 1.993% from 2.003%.
European blue chips climbed 0.62%, the English FTSE 100 slipped 0.05% to 5935 and the German DAX gained 0.81% to 6846.
In Asia, the Japanese Nikkei 225 edged higher by 0.54% to 9647 and the Chinese Hang Seng inched higher by 0.12% to 21407.