Stocks finish higher; S&P 500 is up 9 of the last 10 weeks

Outside the New York Stock Exchange.
(Mark Lennihan / Associated Press)

Investors shrugged off the potential for a federal government shutdown Friday, driving U.S. stocks higher.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 index, Nasdaq composite and Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks finished at record highs as the market bounced back from Thursday’s modest losses. The S&P 500 has posted a weekly gain in nine of the last 10 weeks.

Retailers, banks and consumer goods companies accounted for much of the latest gains. Energy stocks fell along with crude oil prices. Utilities declined as bond yields edged up to their highest level in more than three years.

The market rally suggested that the possibility of a federal government shutdown this weekend wasn’t worrying traders.

“Looking back to some of the previous shutdowns, they weren’t terribly extended in nature and didn’t cause a lot of disruption by the time everything was done,” said Tim Dreiling, regional investment director at U.S. Bank Private Wealth Management. “I don’t think it’s going to disrupt growth or make much of an impact on GDP, for example.”


The S&P 500 index rose 12.27 points, or 0.4%, to 2,810.30. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 53.91 points, or 0.2%, to 26,071.72. That average hit a new high Wednesday.

The Nasdaq climbed 40.33 points, or 0.6%, to 7,336.38. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks advanced 20.90 points, or 1.3%, to 1,597.63.

Bond prices fell. The yield on the 10-year Treasury rose to 2.66% from 2.63%. That’s the highest level since July 2014.

The increase in yields weighed on bond-proxy stocks, such as utilities. Exelon declined 1.6%, to $37.97.

Investors have driven stock indexes higher on optimism over the global economic outlook and corporate earnings, and the possibility of a federal government shutdown did not dim that enthusiasm Friday.

Investors bid up shares in clothing makers, restaurant chains, department stores and other consumer-focused companies. Toy maker Mattel led the pack, climbing 6% to $16.14.

Tobacco manufacturers, food and beverage makers, and other consumer products companies also rose. Philip Morris International went up 3.7% to $108.92. Campbell Soup advanced 2.5% to $47.39.

Banks and other financial stocks rose too. Synchrony Financial advanced 3.1% to $38.47.

Lowe’s rose 3.5% to $104.95 after the home-improvement supply retailer named three new directors.

Some big companies missed out on the broader market gains.

IBM slumped 4% to $162.37 despite a solid fourth-quarter report. The technology and consulting company was the biggest decliner in the Dow.

American Express fell 1.8% to $98.03 after the credit card issuer suspended its share buy-back program for six months following a big one-time tax charge.

Oil futures fell after the International Energy Agency said U.S. oil production would rise sharply this year. Benchmark U.S. crude slid 58 cents, or 0.9%, to settle at $63.37 a barrel. Brent crude, used to price international oils, declined 70 cents, or 1%, to $68.61 a barrel.

The decline in oil prices weighed on energy-sector stocks. Range Resources slid 2.4% to $16.08.

In other energy futures trading, wholesale gasoline fell 2 cents to $1.86 a gallon. Heating oil was little changed at $2.06 a gallon. Natural gas was flat at $3.19 per 1,000 cubic feet.

Gold rose $5.90 to $1,333.10 an ounce. Silver rose 8 cents to $17.04 an ounce. Copper fell 1 cent to $3.19 a pound.

The dollar fell to 110.60 yen from 110.98 yen. The euro fell to $1.2234 from $1.2242.

The price of bitcoin edged up 1.4% to $11,413, according to the tracking site CoinDesk. Bitcoin futures on the Cboe Futures Exchange declined 3.1% to settle at $11,400. The futures enable investors to make bets on the future price of the digital currency.

Major stock indexes in Europe notched gains Friday. Germany’s DAX rose 1.2%. France’s CAC 40 advanced 0.6%. Britain’s FTSE 100 gained 0.4%. In Asia, Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 edged up 0.2%, as did South Korea’s Kospi. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng rose 0.4%.


2:40 p.m.: This article was updated with closing prices, context and analyst comment.

1:30 p.m.: This article was updated with the close of markets.

This article was originally published at 9:25 a.m.