Benchmarks finished in the green on Friday as recently beaten down sector saw an impressive rebound. Gains in sectors like consumer staples and healthcare led all the three key indexes to settle at record highs, with the S&P 500 reached its record high levels for third consecutive session. Also, the index posted gains for six consecutive trading days, its best winning stretch since June, 2014. Further, all key indexes registered weekly gains with the Dow reporting its fifth straight weeks of gains.
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The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) increased 0.7%, or 142.04 points, to close at 19,756.85. The S&P 500 rose 0.6% to close at 2,259.53. The tech-laden Nasdaq Composite Index closed at 5,444.50, gaining 0.5%. The fear-gauge CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) fell 7% to settle at 11.75. A total of around 7.4 billion shares were traded on Friday, lower than the last 20-session average of 7.5 billion shares. Decliners marginally outpaced advancing stocks on the NYSE. For 49% stocks that declined, 48% advanced.
What Boosted the Benchmarks?
Expectations that Donald Trump will adopt new policies including expansionary infrastructure spending, financial deregulation and tax cuts continued to have a positive impact on broader markets. On Friday, investors shifted their focus more toward consumer staples and healthcare sectors, which lagged behind the month long rally registered by broader markets.
Moreover, shares of Coca-Cola Company ( KO ) increased 2.5% after announcing that its CEO Muhtar Kent, will be stepping down after 8 years. He'll be replaced by Coca-Cola's current President, 51-year-old James Quincey.
Gains in Coca-Cola led the Consumer Staples Select Sector SPDR (XLP) to advance 1.4% and become the biggest gainer among the S&P 500 sectors. Some of its key components including, Procter & Gamble Company ( PG ) and Altria Group, Inc. ( MO ) rose 1% and 1.4%, respectively. Both the companies possess a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today's Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.
Additionally, Bristol-Myers Squibb Company's ( BMY ) shares rose 3.3% after the company increased its quarterly dividend by 2.6% to $0.39 per share, starting in next year's first quarter. This in turn led the Health Care Select Sector SPDR (XLV) to increase 1.2% and become the second best performing sector in the S&P 500. Its two key holdings Johnson & Johnson ( JNJ ) and Pfizer Inc. ( PFE ) advanced 1.1% and 2.5%, respectively.
Further, preliminary reading of the University of Michigan's consumer sentiment index rose from 93.8 in November to 98 this month, reaching its best level since January 2015. It was also higher than the consensus estimate of 94.6.
For the week, both the Dow and S&P 500 rose 3.1% and the Nasdaq advanced 3.6%. Most of last week's gains came on the back of Trump induced rally and encouraging domestic economic data. Expectations over Trump's economic policies continued to boost markets, while strong service data helped investors offset Italian referendum concerns. Also, investor sentiment bolstered after ECB's announcement about trimming bond-buying volume.
Stocks That Made Headlines
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