Dow records decline following initial wave of fourth quarter earnings report


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The Dow Jones industrial Average slipped Friday as traders parsed through the first batch of fourth-quarter earnings and digested the second in a pair of closely watched inflation reports this week.

The 30-stock Dow lost 118.04 points, or 0.31%, to close at 37,592.98. The S&P 500 ended the day 0.08% higher at 4,783.83, and the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite closed just above flat, gaining 0.02% to settle at 14,972.76.

UnitedHealth dragged the Dow lower, with the stock losing nearly 3.4% despite the company announcing higher-than-expected earnings and revenue for the fourth quarter. Delta Air Lines also fell nearly 9% even after exceeding quarterly earnings expectations.

A slew of big banks also reported earnings Friday. Bank of America lost about 1.1% after posting declining fourth-quarter profit, while Wells Fargo shares shed 3.3% despite posting a higher profit for the quarterly period. Shares of JPMorgan Chase lost 0.7% even after the bank said its earningsslipped by 15% from a year earlier.

Citigroup, meanwhile, added just above 1% after announcing the company is cutting 10% of its workforce. Earlier Friday, the bank posted a $1.8 billion quarterly loss after incurring several large charges.

Investors got some encouraging news on inflation Friday with wholesale prices unexpectedly declining by 0.1% in December. The data follows the more widely followed consumer prices data Thursday, which came in modestly hotter than economists had forecasted, with prices up 0.3% on the month and 3.4% from a year ago.

On the week, the major averages notched gains. The Dow added 0.34%, while the S&P 500 advanced 1.84%. The Nasdaq is the outperformer, rising 3.09% through Friday’s session.
In commodity-related news, US crude prices briefly surged post-strikes on Houthi militants, following a pause in Red Sea traffic by tanker companies. Despite skepticism among traders regarding a broader Middle East conflict affecting crude supplies, analysts highlight the Strait of Hormuz as a potential flashpoint for price elevation. West Texas Intermediate reached $75, and Brent hit $80, but both retreated, settling at $72.68 and $78.29, respectively.

Overall, US sectors were mostly lower on Friday. Tech was the best performer, closely followed by Energy. Consumer Discretionary was the worst performer.

Futures

The SPI futures are pointing to a 0.1 per cent gain.

Currency

One Australian dollar at 7.33am was buying 66.87 US cents.

Commodities

Gold gained 1.60 per cent. Silver added 2.75 per cent. Copper lost 0.95 per cent. Oil gained 0.92 per cent.

Figures around the globe

European markets closed higher. London’s FTSE added 0.64 per cent, Frankfurt gained 0.95 per cent, and Paris closed 1.05 per cent higher.

Turning to Asian markets, Tokyo’s Nikkei gained 1.50 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng lost 0.35 per cent and China’s Shanghai Composite closed 0.16 per cent lower.

On Friday, the Australian share market closed 0.1 per cent lower at 7,498.28.

Sources: Bloomberg, FactSet, IRESS, TradingView, UBS, Bourse Data, Trading Economics, CoinMarketCap.

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