Stock market today: Stocks close quiet week with small gains

April 21, 2023  -Stocks capped a listless day of trading Friday with slight gains for the major stock indexes, closing out a quiet week on Wall Street highlighted by a batch of mostly mixed corporate earnings reports.

The S&P 500, Dow Jones Industrial Average and Nasdaq composite all gained 0.1% after drifting between small gains and losses for most of the day. The indexes each posted a slight loss for the week.

Health care companies and a range of consumer product makers gained ground, tempering losses in banks, technology stocks and elsewhere. Truist Financial and KeyCorp, two of the larger regional banks, were among the biggest decliners in the S&P 500. Truist fell 6% and KeyCorp ended 3.7% lower.

Bond yields held relatively steady. The yield on the 10-year Treasury, which influences mortgage rates and other loans, rose to 3.56% from 3.54% late Thursday.

Trading was muted as investors focused on the latest corporate earnings reports and forecasts in a bid to get a better sense of how companies are handling high inflation, a slowing economy and fears about a recession.

“You have a market that’s in waiting mode,” said Quincy Krosby, chief global strategist for LPL Financial. “It’s waiting for a sense of what we’re going to hear from companies.”

Investors reviewed a handful of earnings reports Friday. Hospital operator HCA Healthcare rose 3.9% after the company topped estimates for the first quarter and raised its full-year profit forecast. Procter & Gamble, the maker of Charmin toilet paper and other iconic consumer products, rose 3.5% after beating estimates thanks to price increases.

Information technology services company PC Connection fell 4.9% after giving investors a disappointing financial update. Regional bank Regions Financial fell 2.8% after reporting discouraging earnings.

Companies have so far been beating Wall Street forecasts this earnings period. Analysts had forecast this would mark the sharpest drop in S&P 500 earnings per share since the pandemic stunned the economy in 2020. Analysts polled by FactSet expect profits to contract by 6.3% for companies in the S&P 500.

Several big companies are on deck to report earnings next week, giving investors another heavy few days of corporate updates. Coca-Cola reports its latest results on Monday, followed by McDonald’s and Google’s parent company, Alphabet, on Tuesday.

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