US stocks edge higher as Nasdaq ekes out record


NEW YORK (AFP) - Wall Street stocks finished modestly higher on Friday (July 13), with the Nasdaq eking out a second straight record as beaten-down consumer stocks rallied.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.4 per cent to close the week at 24,019.41.

The broad-based S&P 500 advanced 0.1 per cent to 2,801.31, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index added less than 0.1 per cent to end at a new all-time high of 7,825.98.

Investors have turned their attention away from trade tensions for the time being to focus on corporate earnings, which are expected to rise by about 20 per cent compared with the year-ago period.

Banks opened earnings season, with JPMorgan Chase and Citigroup both topping analyst expectations, while Wells Fargo fell short.

All three stocks retreated, with JPMorgan losing 0.5 per cent, Citigroup 2.3 per cent and Wells Fargo 1.3 per cent.

Consumer staples, which has underperformed the broader market for much of 2018, was among the strongest sectors on Friday.

Among those gaining were Dow members Walmart and Walgreens Boots Alliance, which won 1.4 per cent and 1.6 per cent, respectively. Other gainers included Costco Wholesale and Colgate-Palmolive.

But Johnson & Johnson sank 1.4 per cent after a Missouri jury ruled the pharmaceutical goods company owed US$4.7 billion (S$64 billion) in damages in a lawsuit by families over allegations a talc sold by the company contained asbestos and caused them to suffer cancer.

The company said it would "pursue all available appellate remedies."

Netflix shed 4.3 per cent ahead of an earnings report on Monday amid nervousness it will show slowing subscription growth.