Yellen, Draghi offer no clue on monetary policy
U.S. stocks closed higher on Friday with the main indexes posting solid weekly gains after neither Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen nor European Central Bank President Mario Draghi offered clues about future monetary policy moves in a pair of speeches at a central banker retreat in Wyoming.
In speeches at the Kansas City Federal Reserve Bank's symposium in Jackson Hole, Wyo., Yellen focused on banking regulations and economic improvements in the U.S., while Draghi raised concerns about protectionism. The gathering of global central bankers will continue through Saturday.
MarketWatch's Jackson Hole live blog:Yellen, Draghi comment on banks and economy (http://blogs.marketwatch.com/capitolreport/2017/08/25/jackson-hole-fed-conference-live-blog-yellen-draghi-on-tap/)
The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed up 30.27 points, or 0.1%, at 21,813.67 and posted a 0.6% weekly gain, after two weeks of declines.
The S&P 500 rose 4.08 points, or 0.2%, to end at 2,443.05, with nine of the 11 main sectors closing in positive territory. Telecoms and energy shares led the gains, while technology and health-care stocks suffered a minor setback. The benchmark index finished the week 0.7% higher.
The Nasdaq Composite Index settled lower after dipping in and out of positive territory. The tech-heavy index closed 5.68 points, or 0.1%, lower at 6,265.64, dragged down by underperforming technology shares. The index still gained over the week, rising 0.8% for its first weekly gain in five weeks.
"Stocks jumped as Yellen delivered her speech, with traders anticipating something dovish, but as she did not talk about policy at all, those gains petered out," said Michael Antonelli, equity sales trader at Robert W. Baird & Co.
Antonelli warned not to read too much into any market moves amid low August volumes.
"Most people are away, so moves tend to be amplified for no good reason. Technical analysts may point to the 50-day moving average of the S&P 500, which the index keeps failing to break through," Antonelli said.
Selling on the S&P 500 appears to have began shortly after the index rose above 2,450, which is the 50-day moving average.
Also:Fed watchers still fret about policy missteps as Jackson Hole gets under way (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/fed-watchers-still-fret-about-policy-missteps-as-jackson-hole-gets-under-way-2017-08-24)
Jackson Hole: European Central Bank President Mario Draghi didn't offer clues about monetary policy. His comment that recoveries taking place in global economies are firming sent the surging to its highest level versus the dollar (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/euro-strongest-versus-dollar-since-january-2015-after-draghi-speech-2017-08-25) since January 2015.
Some analysts played down the moves in the foreign exchange markets.
"Central bankers have done little to break exchange rates out of the extraordinarily tight trading ranges that have remained intact since the first week of August--dealing a blow to Jackson Hole's well-earned reputation as a currency trader's graveyard," said Karl Schamotta, director of global product and market strategy at Cambridge Global Payments.
Read:Earnings season is still a headache and shareholders shouldn't stand for it (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/earnings-season-is-still-a-headache-and-shareholders-shouldnt-stand-for-it-2017-08-25)
Equity markets may have been in part supported by comments from Gary Cohn, the head of the White House's National Economic Council, in an interview with the Financial Times (https://www.ft.com/content/0169006e-8946-11e7-bf50-e1c239b45787). Cohn said that Trump will begin his push for tax reform, outlining his agenda in a speech next week.
See:Cohn said to have drafted resignation letter after Charlottesville (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/cohn-said-to-have-drafted-resignation-letter-after-charlottesville-report-2017-08-25)
Cohn also said that Congress "has to increase the debt ceiling" and that the U.S. "cannot be put in a position where we default."
Stocks in focus:Adamas Pharmaceuticals Inc.(ADMS) shares surged 40% after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration late Thursday approved the company's Gocovri treatment of dyskinesia, (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/adamas-pharma-shares-soar-on-parkinsons-dyskinesia-drug-approval-2017-08-24) or abnormal or involuntary movements associated with Parkinson's disease.
Ulta Beauty Inc.(ULTA) shares dropped 9.1% after the retailer's results late Thursday showed second-quarter sales growth slowed (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/ulta-beauty-shares-fall-as-companys-sales-growth-slows-2017-08-24). Earnings were above Wall Street's expectations.
Shares of Dollar Tree Inc.(DLTR) rose 2.4% after Raymond James upgraded the stock to strong buy from market perform and assigned it a stock price target of $95, or 21% above its current trading level.
Airlines were among top performers on the S&P 500. American Airlines Group Inc. (AAL) rose 5.4%, while Southwest Airlines Inc.(LUV) gained 3.9%. Delta Air Lines Inc. (DAL) advanced by 3.3%.
Shares of Travelers Companies(TRV) rose 0.7%, recovering somewhat after a big drop on Thursday in response to news about Hurricane Harvey. The National Hurricane Center upgraded Harvey to a Category 3 storm (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/hurricane-harvey-upgraded-to-category-3-2017-08-25) as Texas braces for landfall late Friday or early Saturday.
There were small ripples in stock-index futures ahead of the opening bell following data on durable goods (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/orders-for-durable-goods-sink-68-in-july-the-most-in-nearly-three-years-2017-08-25)which fell by the largest amount in three years. A 6.8% drop in July was largely due to volatile aircraft sector, however. Excluding transports, orders rose modestly.
Other markets: The dollar slid against major rivals following Yellen's remarks. The ICE U.S. Dollar Index , a gauge of the greenback against six rivals, fell to 92.57.
Oil prices were up 0.5% but still holding below $48 a barrel. Investors will watch for developments surrounding Hurricane Harvey.
Read:Why Gulf of Mexico's Hurricane Harvey is bearish for oil (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/why-gulf-of-mexico-storm-harvey-is-bearish-for-oil-2017-08-24)
Also see:Here's how much more you might pay for gasoline because of Hurricane Harvey (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/heres-how-much-more-you-might-pay-for-gasoline-because-of-hurricane-harvey-2017-08-25)
In Asia, Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index jumped 1.1%, and Japan's Nikkei tacked on 0.5% (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/nikkei-nudges-up-as-asian-markets-take-wait-and-see-approach-to-jackson-hole-2017-08-24). European equities gave up earlier gains and finished lower (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/european-stocks-fight-for-gains-as-countdown-to-draghi-speech-begins-2017-08-25) after the euro and the pound rallied against the dollar. Gold ended at its highest level since early June (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/gold-firms-on-track-for-narrow-weekly-gain-as-rate-clues-sought-from-jackson-hole-2017-08-25).
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
August 25, 2017 16:47 ET (20:47 GMT)