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US stocks: Wall Street ends stable ahead of megacap results next week – Times of India

NEW YORK: The S&P 500 ended barely changed on Friday following mixed earnings results as investors assessed how conflicting economic data might influence interest rates and looked ahead to a massive week of corporate reports.
A survey showed US business activity accelerated to an 11-month high in April, further clouding the outlook for the Federal Reserve’s monetary policy after data earlier in the week indicated a weakening economy.
Procter & Gamble Co’s shares rose as customers kept buying despite repeated price hikes, helping the maker of products raging from Tide detergent and Gillette razors to Head & Shoulders shampoo and Crest toothpaste boost its sales forecast and third-quarter margins.
The benchmark S&P 500 has been generally stable over the early stages of a first-quarter earnings season that investors expect to show tepid results. Next week will see a flood of reports, including from megacap tech and growth companies whose shares have helped the S&P 500 rally to start the year.
“The market has been basically in a bit of a holding pattern ahead of big tech earnings next week,” said Keith Lerner, co-chief investment officer at Truist Advisory Services. “There is a tug of war between good and bad economic data, good and bad earnings data.”
According to preliminary data, the S&P 500 gained 3.89 points, or 0.09%, to end at 4,133.68 points, while the Nasdaq Composite gained 13.82 points, or 0.11%, to 12,073.37. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 23.05 points, or 0.07%, to 33,809.67.
Results next week are due from some of the highest-valued US companies including Microsoft, Google parent Alphabet and Amazon. Amazon shares rose on Friday after a research firm predicted the online retailer’s business in North America would beat Wall Street‘s estimates.
The materials sector fell, weighed down by declines in Freeport-McMoRan Inc and Albemarle Corp . Albemarle slumped after Chile unveiled plans to nationalize the lithium industry. Shares of Freeport dropped after the copper miner’s first-quarter profit more than halved.
In other earnings news, HCA Healthcare Inc shares jumped after the hospital operator lifted forecasts for 2023. Its report boosted shares of other hospital operators.
So far, analysts have largely retained last week’s expectations of a near-5% year-on-year fall in quarterly profits at S&P 500 companies, according to Refinitiv data.
“The unpredictability of earnings and revenue and guidance going forward has increased a lot,” said Peter Tuz, president of Chase Investment Counsel. “You have signs that the economy is softening all over the place.”

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