published on July 23, 2021 - 1:22 PM
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(AP) — Wall Street notched more record highs on Friday, ending the week on a strong note after opening it with a stumble. The S&P 500 rose 1%. It was the fourth straight gain for the index following a sell-off Monday brought on by a flare-up in worries about an upturn in coronavirus infections, particularly those of the more contagious delta variant. Investors are monitoring the latest round of corporate earnings for a clearer picture of how companies are faring as people try to get back to pre-pandemic life. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 1.28%.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. AP’s earlier story follows below.

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks rose toward records on Wall Street Friday, as the market continued to roar back from its short-lived swoon at the start of the week.

The S&P 500 index was 1% higher at 4,409, as of 2:57 p.m. Eastern time. If it stays there, it would beat its all-time high of 4,384.63 set early last week. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 196 points, or 0.6%, to 35,019 and the Nasdaq rose 1%.

All three indexes are on track to gain at least 1% for the week and set records, essentially brushing off the sharp downturn that trimmed 1.6% off the S&P 500 on Monday.

That drop was caused by worries about a potentially sharp slowdown in the economy due to a fast-spreading variant of the coronavirus. But the S&P 500 has since climbed four straight days, as big companies reported better profits than expected and as investors once again saw any dip in stocks as merely a chance to buy low.

The economy continues to recover at a torrid pace, with the question being how much growth will slow in upcoming months and years. A preliminary report from IHS Markit on Friday indicated U.S. manufacturing growth may be unexpectedly accelerating in July, though growth in services industries looks to be slowing more than economists expected.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury gave up some of its gain following the release of the report, but it still rose to 1.28% from 1.26% late Thursday. For months, it has been sending an alarm of concern about the economy as it dropped from a perch of roughly 1.75% in late March. But outside of Monday’s sudden swoon, the S&P 500 has mostly continued to plod higher.

Staffing provider Robert Half International jumped 7.5% for Friday’s biggest gain in the S&P 500 after it reported revenue and profit for the latest quarter that topped Wall Street’s expectations. It said it’s seeing a broad-based, global acceleration in demand for its services.

It led a widespread rally across the market, where 80% of the stocks in the S&P 500 were rising. Communications stocks led the way after Twitter reported results that blew past Wall Street’s forecasts on growing advertising demand. It climbed 3.6%. Snap, the parent company of social media app Snapchat, soared 25.4% after reporting results that were much better than expected.

American Express rose 1.4% as spending at restaurants, shops and entertainment venues fueled a second-quarter revenue surge and solid profits.

On the losing end was Intel, which fell despite also reporting solid second-quarter earnings. It lost 6.2% over concerns that supply chain problems could hurt the company. Supply problems are causing a chip shortage worldwide that is impacting a variety of industries while demand continues rising.

Boston Beer Co., which brews Samuel Adams, plunged 24.8% after reporting weak second-quarter financial results as sales of its hard seltzer fizzled.

As Wall Street looks through 2021 and into next year, a key concern remains the potential for “stagflation,” said Jay Hatfield, CEO of Infrastructure Capital Advisors.

That’s when inflation continues rising while economic growth stagnates. Most analysts expect growth to continue moderating as the pandemic fades and the U.S. government and Federal Reserve ease their support.

“How do we get from hypergrowth to stagflation, how do you price that in?” he said. “That’s a key overhang.”

In European stock markets, indexes also rallied by roughly 1%. Asian stock markets were mixed, with Hong Kong’s Hang Seng down 1.4% and South Korea’s Kospi up 0.1%.

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