Investors drove stocks to a positive finish on Friday, with the Dow Jones industrials and S&P 500 seizing new high ground, and the Nasdaq Composite closing just a fraction below record territory.
XAutoplay: On | OffThe Nasdaq and the Dow Jones industrial average each rose 0.3%. The S&P 500 grabbed a 0.2% gain and small caps outpaced slightly the overall action, leaving the Russell 2000 ahead 0.4%. Preliminary data showed volume rose sharply on both the Nasdaq and the NYSE exchanges.
A subway terror attack in London and a North Korean missile fired over Japan stirred uncertainty early in the session, but proved unable to phase market optimism in the final week before the Federal Open Market Committee’s highly anticipated meeting starting Tuesday. Economic news was also a potential stumbling block to trade on Friday, with disappointing retail sales and industrial production numbers for August and a sharp slowdown in New York region manufacturing for September. One bright spot was consumer sentiment, which the University of Michigan reported weakened less than expected in its preliminary estimate for September.
But the leading indexes nonetheless powered to their third gain in four weeks, leaving the Nasdaq up 1.4%, the S&P 500 with a 1.5% gain and the Dow Jones industrial average with a 2.1% head-and-shoulders above-the-group gain that as its strongest advance since the week ended Dec. 9.
Boeing, Nvidia, First Solar Breakout; Oracle Tripped Up By Cloud
Dow peers Verizon (VZ), Apple (AAPL) and Intel (INTC) also logged gains of more than 1%. Dow-listed Pfizer (PFE) backed off 1.1%, but held above the 34.58 flat base buy point it had cleared in fast trade on Tuesday.
NividiaNVDA buzzed up more than 6% in heavy volume after Evercore ISI boosted its price target on the stock to 250, from 180, and maintained its outperform rating. Nvidia remains in its buy range through 183.39.
First Solar (FSLR) also cracked a buy point, bolting 4% higher after Deutsche Bank upgraded the solar components maker and systems installer to buy, from hold. The stock remained in buy range, narrowly above the 50.31 entry.
On the injured list, Oracle (ORCL) collapsed nearly 8% Friday, after its fiscal first quarter late-Thursday raised questions about the sustainability of the growth in nascent cloud computing business. The sell off breached the stock’s 10-week moving average in weighty trade, sending a sell signal, but stopped short of the 7% to 8% loss below its 51.95 buy point, which would have triggered the automatic sell rule.