U.S. stocks were moving higher in afternoon trading Friday, led by more gains in technology and health care companies. High-dividend stocks like real estate companies and utilities were posting big gains following a drop in bond yields. The lower yields and a weak forecast from JPMorgan Chase were weighing on bank stocks.
KEEPING SCORE: The Standard & Poor’s 500 index gained 9 points, or 0.4 percent, to 2,457 as of 1:31 p.m. Eastern time. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 74 points, or 0.4 percent, to 21,627. The Nasdaq composite added 30 points, or 0.5 percent, to 6,304. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks was up 2 points, or 0.2 percent, to 1,428. The Dow, S&P 500 and Russell 2000 were all on track to set new highs.
ECONOMIC SNAPSHOTS: Investors were also weighing data on retail sales and inflation at the consumer level Friday. The Commerce Department said retail sales fell 0.2 percent in June as Americans curtailed spending at restaurants, department stores and gasoline stations. That followed a 0.1 percent drop in May. Meanwhile, the Labor Department said U.S. consumer prices were flat in June, the latest evidence that inflation remains muted. All told, inflation has climbed just 1.6 percent from a year ago.
The market rallied on Wednesday after Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen hinted that the Fed could slow its rate hike plans if inflation continues to run below the Fed’s 2 percent target.
QUARTERLY RESULTS: Several big banks kicked off the second-quarter earnings season. Among them were JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup and Wells Fargo, each of which posted results that beat Wall Street’s expectations. But it wasn’t all good news. JPMorgan, the nation’s largest bank by assets, said it expects weaker net interest income. Falling bond yields also weighed on the sector. When bond yields decline, it forces interest rates on loans lower, which makes it harder for banks to make money from lending. JPMorgan fell 93 cents, or 1 percent, to $92.17, while Citigroup slid 29 cents to $66.73. Wells Fargo lost 66 cents, or 1.2 percent, to $54.94.
TECH SHINES: Technology companies were among the big gainers. NetApp rose $2.38, or 5.7 percent, to $43.75. Seagate Technology added $1.21, or 3.2 percent, to $39.53.
YIELD PLAY: High-dividend companies like real estate investment trusts moved higher as bond yields decreased. General Growth Properties added 58 cents, or 2.5 percent, to $23.51. Iron Mountain gained 78 cents, or 2.3 percent, to $34.72.
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BONDS: Bond prices rose. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 2.32 percent from 2.35 percent late Thursday.
OIL: Benchmark U.S. crude rose 47 cents, or 1 percent, to $46.54 per barrel on New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, used to price international oils, was up 35 cents, or 0.7 percent, to $48.77 per barrel in London.
GREENBACK SLIDE: The dollar was down to 112.58 yen from 113.23 yen late Thursday. The ICE U.S. Dollar Index, which compares the dollar against a basket of major currencies, slid to its lowest level since September. The U.S. currency also weakened against the euro, which rose to $1.1465 from $1.1406.
The Associated Press contributed to this article.