Stock market rally pauses Friday afternoon


The stock market rally that led to record highs this week stalled on Friday as investors waited to see where corporate profits are headed.

Major U.S. indexes were little changed on Friday afternoon, a day after the Dow Jones industrial average and the Standard & Poor’s 500 index set all-time highs.

Most signs suggested that the rally isn’t over, just paused. Indexes that measure tech stocks and small companies both rose slightly. And the Dow’s small decline was because of Boeing, which dropped after a fire on a 787 Dreamliner parked in London.

Earnings news was mixed. Profits at big banks Wells Fargo and JP Morgan came in better than expected, and that helped financial stocks. But UPS cut its profit outlook and said it’s seeing a slowdown in U.S. industry.

Also, a University of Michigan measure of consumer sentiment came in lower than expected for this month.

Investors will get a lot more information next week, when key reports on inflation and retail sales are due. That’s also when the pace of company earnings reports picks up sharply. Reports are due from the remaining big banks as well as General Electric, Intel, Microsoft and other industry bellwethers.

“This is the jump ball, this is the Lebron James of the market,” said David Darst, chief investment strategist for Morgan Stanley Individual Investor Group, referring to the second-quarter earnings rush. “It’s going to determine where the market goes.”

In late afternoon trading, the Dow was down 38 points, or 0.3 percent, at 15,422. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index was up a point at 1,676. Both indexes closed at all-time highs on Thursday.

The Nasdaq composite edged up 11 points to 3,590. The Russell 2000, which is made up of smaller companies, rose three points, or 0.4 percent, to 1,037.

All the big indexes are ahead for the week. The S&P 500 had risen for six days in a row before Friday, its longest winning streak since March.


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