Nasdaq turns flat as tech stocks give up early advance
U.S. stocks pared gains but remained in positive territory Friday as investors appeared disappointed that Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen offered no clues to the central bank's monetary policy path.
In a speech at Jackson Hole symposium, Yellen defended postcrisis banking regulations and spoke about the financial system instead.
Follow MarketWatch's Jackson Hole live blog:Yellen, Draghi on tap (http://blogs.marketwatch.com/capitolreport/2017/08/25/jackson-hole-fed-conference-live-blog-yellen-draghi-on-tap/)
The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 68 points, or 0.3%, to 21,851 and was on track for a 0.6% weekly gain, after two weeks of declines.
The S&P 500 advanced by 8.5 points, or 0.4%, to 2,447, with 10 of the 11 main sectors trading higher. Only the tech sector was in the red, down 0.1%. The benchmark index looked set to finish the week 0.7% higher.
The Nasdaq Composite Index pared gains to trade flat at 6,271 as technology stocks turned lower. The index was still on track to finish the week 0.8% higher for its first weekly gain in five weeks.
"The initial jump to Yellen's speech was because traders were anticipating something dovish from Yellen, but she did not talk about policy," 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 will also be closely followed for hints as to when and how the bank will begin to unwind its monetary easing.
"The ECB President has made a habit of going off script at Jackson Hole in the past, and whilst a report from Reuters last week stated insiders believed no major policy announcements were to be made, many are hoping he may let slip an implicit hint at the start date of the ECB's long-awaited [quantitative easing] taper," said Croft.
Draghi is scheduled to speak at 3 p.m. Eastern.
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)
In an interview with the Financial Times (https://www.ft.com/content/0169006e-8946-11e7-bf50-e1c239b45787), Gary Cohn, the head of President Trump's National Economic Council, 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 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 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 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.
Twitter Inc.(TWTR) shares were off slightly after Jefferies analyst Brent Thill downgraded the social-media company to hold from buy (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/twitter-shares-fall-after-downgrade-facebook-is-clear-winner-analyst-says-2017-08-24) on Thursday.
Shares of Travelers Companies(TRV) were nearly flat after a big drop on Thursday in response to news about Hurricane Harvey. The National Hurricane Center forecasts that Harvey will strengthen to Category 3 hurricane (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/life-threatening-hurricane-harvey-intensifies-to-category-2-as-it-heads-for-texas-2017-08-25) by the time it makes a landfall in Texas on 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, ell 0.4% to 92.93.
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)
In Asia, Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index jumped 1.1%, and Japan's Nikkei tacked on 0.5%. European equities gave up earlier gains and finished lower after euro and pound's rallied against the dollar. Gold prices were largely unchanged at $1,292.60 an ounce.
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
August 25, 2017 13:45 ET (17:45 GMT)