US market news-stocks stand still after record highs

NEW YORK (AP) – U.S. stocks are little changed Friday afternoon in quiet trading ahead of the Memorial Day holiday. Household goods companies are rising as beauty products makers Ulta and Coty climb. Technology companies, which have led the market’s recent rally, are slightly lower. Indexes remain near record highs following a six-day winning streak.

KEEPING SCORE: The Standard & Poor’s 500 index stayed at 2,415 as of 1 p.m. Eastern time. The Dow Jones industrial average held steady at 21,083. The Nasdaq composite rose 2 points to 6,207. The Russell 2000 index of small-company stocks remained at 1,382. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq closed at all-time highs Thursday.


U.S. markets will be closed Monday for Memorial Day.

Small-company stocks made huge gains last year following the presidential election, but they haven’t done as well as the rest of the market this year. Investors hoped that President Donald Trump’s agenda of tax cuts and looser regulations would boost the U.S. economy and help those companies do more business. This year they are still waiting for that to happen.

EARNINGS: Without much major news to move stock prices, investors continued to trade on company reports. Many came from consumer-focused companies and sellers of household goods, and both industries did better than the rest of the market Friday.

Beauty products retailer Ulta Beauty gained $10.55, or 3.6 percent, to $303.59 after reporting a strong quarter. Competitor Coty picked up 45 cents, or 2.4 percent, to $19.05.

Costco Wholesale rose $3.26, or 1.9 percent, to $177.99 after the warehouse club had a strong quarter as sales and member payments both increased. Uggs maker Deckers Outdoor turned in earnings that were stronger than expected, and its stock gained $9.23, or 16.3 percent, to $65.80.

GAME OVER: GameStop’s first-quarter results were stronger than analysts expected, but sales of new software and wireless devices were weaker than investors expected. The stock gave up $1.66, or 7 percent, to $21.97. Video game publishers also fell. Activision Blizzard lost $1, or 1.7 percent, to $58.22 and Electronic Arts declined $1.66, or 1.5 percent, to $112.17. Take-Two Interactive Software shed $1.05, or 1.3 percent, to $77.49.

SOOTHED: The VIX, an index that is called Wall Street’s “fear gauge” because it measures how much volatility investors expect to see, fell for the seventh day in a row. After a huge spike last Wednesday, the VIX is again trading around its lowest levels since 1993. It sank to 9.80 Friday.

OIL: Crude oil prices inched higher after a sharp drop the day before. Benchmark U.S. crude rose 69 cents, or 1.4 percent, to $49.59 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, the international standard, added 52 cents, or 1 percent, to $51.98 a barrel in London. On Thursday a group of 24 nations including the OPEC countries agreed to a nine-month extension of a cut in oil production.

But energy companies, which have lagged the market dramatically this year, were little changed. The S&P 500’s energy company index is down 12 percent in 2017 while the broader S&P 500 is up almost 8 percent.

ECONOMY: The Commerce Department said the U.S. economy grew 1.2 percent in the first quarter, which was still weak but better than it originally estimated. Orders for long-lasting goods fell in April, and a category that tracks business investment fell for the second month in a row.

BONDS: Bond prices were little changed. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note held steady at 2.25 percent.

CURRENCIES: The dollar sank to 111.33 yen from 111.80 yen. The euro fell to $1.1177 from $1.1205.

OVERSEAS: Germany’s DAX lost 0.2 percent and the FTSE 100 in Britain rose 0.4 percent. The French CAC 40 slipped less than 0.1 percent. Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 index shed 0.6 percent but the South Korean Kospi climbed 0.5 percent. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng was nearly unchanged.

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