A slew of strong corporate results countered the slump in financial and technology shares to help benchmarks end mixed. The Dow and S&P 500 ended modestly higher on Friday and recorded their first weekly gains for the month. The Nasdaq not only finished in the negative territory on Friday, but also lost out on a seat in the green for the week.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) gained 0.5% to settle at 13,029.26. The Standard & Poor 500 (S&P 500) edged up 0.1% to finish Friday’s trading session at 1,378.53. The tech-laden Nasdaq Composite Index dropped 0.2% and ended lower at 3,000.45. The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) plunged 5.0% to settle at 17.44. Consolidated volumes on the New York Stock Exchange, the Nasdaq and American Stock Exchange were roughly 6.68 billion shares, somewhat lower than this year’s daily average of 6.78 billion. Advancers had a better day than the declining stocks; as for every couple of stocks that climbed on the NYSE, a single stock traded lower.
This was a week when the benchmarks recorded their best performance in almost a month, with Nasdaq enjoying its best run of the year. However, the robust gains were pitted against declines on few other days of the week. Eventually, the gains for Dow and S&P 500 were uninspiring, and the Nasdaq lost all its gains for the week. With the earnings season in full force, corporate results impacted the markets alongside European economic developments through the week. Separately, domestic economic data also guided the benchmarks on certain occasions, both positively and negatively. At the end of the week, the Dow and S&P 500 gained 1.4% and 0.6%, respectively, but Nasdaq dropped 0.4%.
While the Dow managed to climb back over its key level of 13, 000, Nasdaq just about managed to sustain its own key level. Movement in shares of Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) often guides the Nasdaq since it is Nasdaq’s biggest component and is also the most valued company in the world. On Friday, shares of the iPad and iPhone maker declined 2.5%.
Nasdaq’s fall on Friday was not only linked to Apple’s decline, but the broader technology sector also ended in the red. The Technology Select Sector SPDR (XLK) ended 0.4% lower, limiting the gains of other benchmarks. Among tech shares, SanDisk Corp. (NASDAQ:SNDK) suffered one its biggest declines and it slumped 11.3%. The chipmaker not only failed to beat estimates but issued a weak guidance. It issued its second warning on revenues and management stated that they believe price declines will continue into the second quarter. With these concerns weighing on investors’ mind, the company’s rivals Broadcom Corp. (NASDAQ:BRCM) and Micron Technology Inc. (NASDAQ:MU) lost 2.7% and 5.2%, respectively.
Dismal performance by financial stocks further dampened sentiment and dragged the benchmarks from day’s highs. The Financial Select Sector SPDR (XLF) was down 0.5% and shares including Bank of America Corporation (NYSE:BAC), Citigroup, Inc. (NYSE:C), JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE:JPM) and Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS) slumped 4.7%, 2.8%, 1.2% and 3.3%, respectively.
Declines in technology and financial stocks somewhat disrupted the benchmarks’ rally, which was sparked off by encouraging corporate results. Investor sentiment was buoyed since the morning by encouraging earnings surprises from Schlumberger Limited (NYSE:SLB), Honeywell International Inc. (NYSE:HON) and General Electric Company (NYSE:GE). Each of these companies is a key element for their individual sectors and they gained 2.7%, 2.4% and 1.2%, respectively, following the results. Separately, McDonald's Corp. (NYSE:MCD) also came out with its results and reported in-line earnings and revenues in its first quarter. Tech bellwether Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) had reported earnings that topped the estimates after the closing bell on Thursday. Microsoft did lower its estimates, but strength in the PC market was a key positive for the company.
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