July 21st, 2024

Stock market today: Wall Street drifts to a mixed close after European stocks slump again

By Stan Choe, The Associated Press on June 14, 2024.

FILE - The New York Stock Exchange is shown on June 12, 2024 in New York. European shares are lower and Asian shares ended mixed on Thursday, June 13, 2024, after the Federal Reserve opted to keep its benchmark interest rate unchanged. (AP Photo/Peter Morgan)

NEW YORK (AP) – U.S. stocks drifted to a mixed close as caution crept into financial markets heading into the weekend. The S&P 500 slipped less than 0.1% Friday after setting an all-time high every other day this week. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.1%, while the Nasdaq composite edged up 0.1%, marking another all-time high. Losses were sharper across the Atlantic, where European stocks have been rocked by the results of recent elections on the continent. France’s CAC 40 stumbled to its worst week in more than two years. Treasury yields eased following a report on U.S. consumer sentiment.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. AP’s earlier story follows below.

NEW YORK (AP) – U.S. stocks are drifting around their record levels on Friday as caution creeps into financial markets heading into the weekend.

The S&P 500 was edging 0.1% lower in late trading and on track for its first day this week where it did not set an all-time high. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 85 points, or 0.2%, with an hour remaining in trading, and the Nasdaq composite was holding steady around its record set a day before.

Losses were sharper across the Atlantic, where European markets have been rocked by the results of recent elections on the continent. Wins by far-right parties have raised the pressure on France’s president in particular, and investors worry it could weaken the European Union, stall fiscal plans and ultimately hurt France’s ability to pay its debt. Recent elections have also shaken markets in Mexico, India and elsewhere.

France’s CAC 40 fell 2.7% to bring its loss for the week to 6.2%, its worst in more than two years. Germany’s DAX lost 1.4%.

On Wall Street, RH fell 18.1% after reporting a worse loss for the latest quarter than financial analysts expected. The seller of home furnishings called this “the most challenging housing market in three decades.”

High mortgage rates have hurt the housing market, as the Federal Reserve has kept its main interest rate at the highest level in more than two decades. The central bank is intentionally slowing the economy through high rates, hoping to starve inflation of its fuel.

Cruise-ship operators were among the market’s biggest losers after analysts at Bank of America flagged softening price trends for trips. Norwegian Cruise Line dropped 7.5% for the worst loss in the S&P 500, and Carnival fell 7.4%.

Stocks have nevertheless set records as hopes rise that inflation is slowing enough to convince the Federal Reserve to cut interest rates later this year. Big technology stocks, meanwhile, continue to race ahead almost regardless of what the economy and interest rates are doing.

Adobe jumped 14.4% after reporting stronger profit for the latest quarter than analysts expected.

Broadcom rose 3.5% and was headed for a second straight day of gains after reporting better profit than expected and a 10-for-one stock split to make its price more affordable. Nvidia rose 1.9% as the poster child of the rush into artificial-intelligence technology sees its total market value climb even higher above $3 trillion.

In the bond market, U.S. Treasury yields ticked lower after a preliminary report from the University of Michigan suggested sentiment among U.S. consumers failed to improve this month, against economists’ expectations.

Solid spending by U.S. households has been one of the main engines keeping the economy out of a recession, but “assessments of personal finances dipped, due to modestly rising concerns over high prices as well as weakening incomes,” according to Joanne Hsu, director of the Surveys of Consumers.

Perhaps more importantly for financial markets, expectations for upcoming inflation among U.S. consumers don’t seem to be moving much, even if they are relatively high. That’s an encouraging signal that the economy could avoid a self-fulfilling cycle where expectations for higher inflation drive behavior that creates more of it.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury fell to 4.21% from 4.25% late Thursday. It had been as high as 4.60% late last month, before a couple of encouraging reports on inflation.

In stock markets abroad, indexes were mixed in Asia. Japan’s Nikkei 225 rose 0.2% after the country’s central bank held steady on interest rates.

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AP Business Writer Yuri Kageyama contributed.

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