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U.S. Stocks Mixed, Still on Pace for Yet Another Winning Week

Benchmark U.S. crude rose 27 cents to $49.02 per barrel
By The News · 17 of March 2017 08:14:56
People are reflected on the electronic board of a securities firm in Tokyo, People are reflected on the electronic board of a securities firm in Tokyo, Friday, March 17, 2017. Asian markets were mixed Friday, weighing prospects that the U.S. Federal Reserve will not raise interest rates as many times as some investors expect. (AP Photo/Koji Sasahara), photo: AP/Koji Sasahara

U.S. stocks were mixed in early trading Friday, and indexes made only small moves for the second straight day. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index is still on track to deliver its seventh week of gains in the last eight, following a big rally earlier in the week sparked by the Federal Reserve’s announcement on interest rates.

KEEPING SCORE: The S&P 500 was virtually flat at 2,382, as of 10 a.m. Eastern time. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 9 points, or less than 0.1 percent, to 20,943. The Nasdaq composite was close to flat at 5,890. Slightly more stocks rose than fell on the New York Stock Exchange.

YIELDS: Treasury yields dipped, dropping once again after the Fed on Wednesday gave a more measured forecast for interest-rate increases than some investors expected.

The 10-year Treasury yield fell to 2.51 percent from 2.54 percent late Thursday. The two-year yield dipped to 1.32 per cent from 1.34 percent, and the 30-year yield sank to 3.13 percent from 3.15 percent.

The Fed raised short-term rates by a quarter of a percentage point on Wednesday, as many investors expected. It also said that it still plans to raise rates by a total of three times this year, when some investors had been expecting four hikes given the recent pickup in the economy and inflation.

HEALTH CARE, FINANCIAL STOCKS SINK: Amgen had the biggest loss in the S&P 500 after results from a study of its cholesterol drug Repatha disappointed investors. It sank $9.69, or 5.4 percent, to $170.42.

Health care stocks in the S&P 500 dipped, one of only two sectors in the S&P 500 to fall. Financial stocks fell 0.4 percent with bond yields. They have often moved in the same direction recently because higher rates would allow banks to charge more for loans and earn bigger profits.

MARKETS ABROAD: France’s CAC 40 rose 0.2 percent, Germany’s DAX index was close to flat and the FTSE 100 in London rose 0.3 percent. Japan’s Nikkei 225 fell 0.3 percent, South Korea’s Kospi rose 0.7 percent and the Hang Seng in Hon Kong added 0.1 percent.

G-20 POWWOW: Finance leaders from the G-20 industrial and emerging economies are meeting Friday and Saturday in the southern German resort town of Baden-Baden. The first G-20 finance meeting since tough-talking Donald Trump was elected president is likely to focus on concerns over protectionism and currencies.

COMMODITIES: Benchmark U.S. crude rose 27 cents to $49.02 per barrel. Brent crude, which is used to price international oils, rose 26 cents to $52.00 a barrel.

Gold rose $2.90 to $1,230.00 per ounce. Silver added 4 cents to $17.37, and copper rose a penny to $2.68 per pound.

CURRENCIES: The euro from dipped to $1.0746 from $1.0749 late Thursday, and the British pound fell to $1.2367 from $1.2358. The dollar slipped to 113.02 Japanese yen from 113.26 yen.