US stocks end week on positive note

NEW YORK – Wall Street stocks shrugged off early weakness and advanced on Friday, adding to weekly gains following data showing further ebbing of US inflation.

A benchmark of inflation closely-watched by the Federal Reserve showed further moderation in December. The personal consumption expenditures price index rose 5 per cent last month from a year ago, still much above the Fed’s target rate.

Fed policy makers have hinted that the central bank will enact a quarter-point interest rate hike next week, smaller than a series of recent increases – and enough of a shift to raise investor hopes of a meaningful policy pivot.

“There’s certainly a potential for a softish landing, or at least it hasn’t been ruled out,” said Mr Art Hogan, an analyst at B. Riley Financial.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished up 0.1 per cent at 33,978.08.

The broad-based S&P 500 climbed 0.3 per cent to 4,070.56, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index jumped 1 per cent to 11,621.71.

Among individual companies, Intel dropped 6.4 per cent after it reported lower profits and projected a loss in the first quarter of 2023 as it contends with weakening demand and oversupply of chips in key markets.

American Express jumped 10.6 per cent after its forecast topped analyst expectations as it pointed to the highest ever quarterly card member spending.

But Chevron fell 4.5 per cent after reporting lower-than-expected profits despite notching record earnings in 2022. The oil giant had rallied in the prior session after announcing a new US$75 billion (S$100 billion) share repurchase programme and hiking its corporate dividend.

Hasbro slumped 8.1 per cent as the toymaker said it was cutting around 15 per cent of its global workforce, around 1,000 jobs, as it projected fourth-quarter earnings below expectations.

Hasbro said results were marred by a “challenging holiday consumer environment.” AFP


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