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U.S. Stocks Post Weekly Gains

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02/14/2020 | 05:05pm EST

By Avantika Chilkoti and Gunjan Banerji

U.S. stocks were little changed Friday but ended the week with gains as investors' concerns about a sharp rise in coronavirus cases faded.

The S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite swung between small gains and losses Friday and ended the session higher, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average suffered a modest loss.

The S&P 500 rose 6.22 points, or 0.2%, to 3380.16, a new record. The Nasdaq Composite added 19.21 points, or 0.2% to 9731.18, also a new high. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 25.23 points, or 0.1%, to 29398.08. All three indexes notched gains of at least 1% for the week.

Investors grew concerned about when the coronavirus outbreak might peak after Chinese authorities changed the criteria for diagnosis earlier in the week, leading to a dramatic increase in the number of new cases. But stocks in the U.S. and in Europe largely continued rallying on faith that central banks and governments will take steps to shield the global economy from the impact of the outbreak.

"The market wants to believe this is a one-quarter blip and we're back to the races," said Neil Dwane, global strategist at Allianz Global Investors.

Additionally, earnings have continued to largely beat investors expectations, helping give stocks a boost.

Some investors said they remained optimistic about the trajectory for U.S. stocks this year, despite nagging concerns about the virus.

"As the year progresses, we're in a pretty strong place to continue to surprise on the upside," said Wayne Wicker, chief investment officer at Vantagepoint Investment Advisers. "These types of issues--while tragic--in and of themselves are short lived."

Still, some of the jitters that were on display earlier in the week were more apparent in the market for government bonds.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 1.587%, according to Tradeweb, from 1.616% Thursday as fresh data released Friday showed that U.S. retail sales increased 0.3% in January from the month prior, in line with expectations. Though the report showed that spending is on steady footing, spending was uneven across the board. Clothing and gasoline sales dropped while U.S. auto sales increased.

There were signs of fresh tensions between Washington and Beijing that emerged overnight after the U.S. charged Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei and two of its U.S. units with racketeering conspiracy and conspiracy to steal trade secrets. Tensions between the two nations had roiled markets for large parts of last year, and eased only briefly after they sealed an initial trade accord that failed to address a number of crucial issues.

"We always thought the 'phase one' trade deal would not actually resolve tensions between the U.S. and China," said Simona Gambarini, markets economist at Capital Economics in London. "The two economies are based on totally different foundations."

Shares of some individual companies recorded bigger moves Friday. Nvidia advanced $19.01, or 7%, to $289.79 after the graphics-chip maker's fourth-quarter earnings topped Wall Street's expectations. Nvidia's lurch higher to a new record helped the S&P 500's information technology sector outperform the broader market, rising 0.5%.

Expedia Group gained $12.21, or 11%, to $122.80 after the online travel company projected cost savings and growth in a measure of profit for this year.

Overseas, the Stoxx Europe 600 index slipped 0.1% and the Shanghai Composite Index closed 0.4% higher.

Write to Avantika Chilkoti at Avantika.Chilkoti@wsj.com and Gunjan Banerji at Gunjan.Banerji@wsj.com

 

Stocks mentioned in the article
ChangeLast1st jan.
ALLIANZ SE -3.48% 215 Delayed Quote.1.99%
CHINA-SHANGHAI COMP 1.84% 3030.15 End-of-day quote.-1.18%
DJ INDUSTRIAL -3.15% 27081.36 Delayed Quote.1.59%
EXPEDIA GROUP, INC. -3.03% 108.91 Delayed Quote.3.86%
NASDAQ 100 -2.70% 8834.865425 Delayed Quote.8.17%
NASDAQ COMP. -2.77% 8965.612569 Delayed Quote.6.73%
NVIDIA CORPORATION -4.11% 262.05 Delayed Quote.16.14%
S&P 500 -3.03% 3128.21 Delayed Quote.3.31%
S&P/CITIC 300 INDEX -0.44% 3597.08 Delayed Quote.1.40%
S&P/CITIC 50 INDEX -1.60% 3588.04 Delayed Quote.-2.43%
STOXX EUROPE 600 -1.76% 404.6 Delayed Quote.2.94%
STOXX EUROPE 600 NR -1.76% 874.69 Delayed Quote.3.12%
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