Dow Ends Slightly Higher After Jackson Hole Speeches; Nasdaq Halts Weekly Skid

U.S. stock benchmarks finished with slight gains Friday, halting weekly skids as European Central Bank President Mario Draghi and Federal Reserve boss Janet Yellen delivered speeches at Jackson Hole, Wyo. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 30.37 points, or 0.1%, at 21,813.67 Dow components Boeing Co. and Intel Corp. limited gains for blue chips. The S&P 500 index advanced 4.08 points, or 0.2%, at 2,443.05, while the Nasdaq Composite Index finished lower, down 5.68 points, or less than 0.1%, at 6,265.64. Still, the technology laden gauge halted a dubious streak of four consecutive weekly declines, with a roughly 0.8% gain. For the week, the Dow gained 0.6%, while the S&P 500 enjoyed a 0.7% return, with both benchmarks ending two straight weeks of declines. Earlier in the session, Yellen said the economy was stabilizing but made no specific remarks about monetary policy during her speech at the gathering of central bankers in Wyoming. Later Friday, Draghi said recoveries taking place in global economies are firming, though he said it was "at an earlier stage" in Europe and Japan. His remarks were interpreted as hawkish by investors, sending the euro surging against the dollar up at $1.1925, compared to $1.18 late Thursday in New York. U.S. equity markets, meanwhile, were given an early boost on the back of the possibility of tax reform following remarks made by Gary Cohn, the president's economic adviser. During a interview with the Financial Times he said the president was focused on getting tax reform done by the end of 2017. Tax cuts and other fiscal stimulus measures had been part of catalyst for stocks's rise to records after Trump's election victory in November. In that interview, Cohn also said he seriously considered resigning in response to Trump's reaction to a Charlottesville, Va., white-supremacist rally, however, the adviser and former Goldman Sachs executive decided against leaving. In other news, investors watched developments in the Gulf Coast after Hurricane Harvey was upgraded to a Category 3 storm. In corporate news, Ulta Beauty Inc. shares dropped 9% after the retailer's results late Thursday showed second-quarter sales growth slowed. Check out a live blog of the Jackson Hole symposium here.

Copyright © 2017 MarketWatch, Inc.