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U.S. Stock Indexes Notch Weekly Gains -- WSJ

24 Jun 2017 6:32 am

Health care's rise is biggest since election; energy posts its worst performance this year
By Riva Gold and Corrie Driebusch 

This article is being republished as part of our daily reproduction of WSJ.com articles that also appeared in the US print edition of The Wall Street Journal (June 24, 2017).

The S&P 500 rose Friday and posted a second straight week of gains, as a rise in health-care stocks offset a drop in energy shares in recent sessions.

Though the S&P 500's health-care sector slipped Friday, it notched its biggest weekly rise since the presidential election.

Shares of pharmaceutical companies and biotechnology firms jumped this past week following some encouraging data on drug development. Health-care companies joined the climb, including Thursday when Senate Republicans unveiled their plans to overhaul the Affordable Care Act.

The broad S&P 500 index rose 3.8 points, or 0.2%, to 2438.30 on Friday, while the Nasdaq Composite added 28.56, or 0.5%, to 6265.25. The Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped 2.53 points, or less than 0.1%, to 21394.76.

For the week, the S&P 500 gained 0.2%, while the Nasdaq Composite added 1.8% -- helped by a rise in biotech and technology shares. The Dow industrials rose less than 0.1%.

Energy companies and equipment makers fell in recent days as U.S.-traded crude oil tumbled, since lower oil prices can hurt their profit margins. Investors are watching the energy market closely since it has been critical for the earnings recovery in the U.S. The sector is expected to account for nearly half of the S&P 500's earnings growth in the second quarter, according to FactSet.

"There's now a bit of a concern that energy companies will not be able to meet earnings forecasts going forward for the year," said JJ Kinahan, chief market strategist at TD Ameritrade.

The energy sector in the S&P 500 gained 0.8% on Friday, but the shares fell 2.9% for the week -- the sector's worst performance of the year.

U.S.-traded crude oil declined 4.4% for the week and entered a bear market, having fallen more than 20% from a recent high in February. Prices edged higher on Friday, rising 0.6% to $43.01 a barrel.

Shares of Bed Bath & Beyond fell $4.09, or 12%, to $29.65 -- its lowest close since 2009 -- after its earnings missed expectations Thursday, the latest disappointing quarterly results from a retailer.

The British pound rose on the first anniversary of the U.K.'s vote to leave the European Union, adding 0.3% to $1.2718 and paring the week's declines. London's export-heavy FTSE 100 declined 0.2% as the pound climbed.

Since the June 23 referendum last year, the FTSE 100 index, which generates roughly two-thirds of its revenue overseas, has risen about 17%, while the pound has fallen roughly 15%. The pound now looks cheap compared with historical levels. But U.K. interest-rate expectations have fallen significantly since the vote, with growth expected to slow this year, keeping the currency under pressure.

"We don't see a recession on the horizon," said Ed Smith, a strategist at Rathbones. "But the only thing that has really driven the U.K. economy higher over the last two years has been the consumer and household spending, and we think that's going to suffer," he said, noting the sharp decline in the pound has precipitated a rise in inflation that has outpaced real wage growth.

Elsewhere in markets, the yield on the 10-year Treasury note slipped to 2.146% from 2.153% Thursday, while the WSJ Dollar Index, which measures the dollar against a basket of 16 currencies, edged down 0.2%.

The Shanghai Composite Index added 0.3% in a volatile session Friday, after increased regulatory scrutiny over the borrowings of China's most prolific overseas deal makers sent markets lower.

Write to Riva Gold at riva.gold@wsj.com and Corrie Driebusch at corrie.driebusch@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

June 24, 2017 02:32 ET (06:32 GMT)

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