The stock market looked in vain for catalysts Friday as modest earnings beats for most banks and a quiet day on the Twitter front for President Trump offered little to go on.
Blue chips led the upside as the Dow Jones industrial average rose 0.4% above the 25,000 level. The Nasdaq was flat, while the S&P 500 edged up 0.1%. The small cap Russell 2000 added less than 0.1%.
Volume was running lower on both major exchanges.
Among the 30 Dow components, JPMorgan Chase (JPM) attracted the most turnover. Volume rose 140% above average. Neither the bulls nor the bears were able to do much with it. The stock edged up 0.2%.
JPMorgan reported quarterly results before the open. The big bank grew earnings 26%, topping the consensus target for a 22% gain.
Wells Fargo (WFC) also reported but missed the Street’s consensus estimate on earnings. The stock was off about 1%.
Banks have been a disappointment to the bulls. So far this year, the money center group is down 7% vs. gains of 14% and 5% for the Nasdaq and the S&P 500 respectively.
In the IBD 50, a list of the best stocks in fundamentals and technicals, losers led winners by a 3-to-2 ratio Friday afternoon. Netflix (NFLX) and Jazz Pharmaceuticals (JAZZ) fell 3% and 2% respectively. There were no gainers in strong volume.
Ulta Sets Up Base
Specialty retailer Ulta Beauty (ULTA) climbed about 3%. The stock is approaching a 261.50 buy point in a flat base. The Street expects earnings to swell 30% in fiscal 2019 ending in January.
If Ulta breaks out, it would be its first breakout since May 2017, which only led to an 8% gain. The 2017 breakout was after a long run-up. A breakout now would be after a long decline, though the stock’s current base does have a 36% prior uptrend.
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