US stocks end mostly up but Netflix drops

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NEW YORK (AFP) - Wall Street stocks finished a volatile week mostly higher on Friday (July 17) following mixed economic data as Netflix shares retreated following disappointing earnings.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average dipped 0.2 per cent to 26,671.95.

The broad-based S&P 500 gained 0.3 per cent to 3,224.73, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index also won 0.3 per cent to 10,503.19.

US home construction surged 17.3 per cent in June, the Commerce Department said, as the sector continued to gain ground following the disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

The figures were especially strong in the Northeast, which had suffered the worst of the virus earlier in the spring. It isn't clear yet if worsening coronavirus outbreaks in southern and western states will slow the housing rebound.

But consumer sentiment data from the University of Michigan for July missed analyst expectations.

Rubeela Farooqi, chief US economist at High Frequency Economics, attributed the lackluster consumer data to the rise in Covid-19 cases.

"Sentiment will likely remain subdued in the absence of a more substantial health response that will result in better virus containment and prevent repeated closures that will cause more permanent damage to the labor market," Farooqi said.

Among individual names, Netflix dropped 6.5 per cent after reporting relatively flat second-quarter profits despite rising subscriber numbers.

BlackRock jumped 3.7 per cent as the money management firm attracted US$100 billion (S$140 billion) in new funds amid the upheaval in markets.

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