U.S. blue-chip stocks wobbled in holiday trading on Friday but posted gains for the week as investors took heart from a dovish set of Federal Reserve minutes released earlier in the week.
The benchmark S&P 500 closed little changed after the half-day session, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite fell 0.5 percent. Markets on Wall Street were closed Thursday for Thanksgiving, and activity is typically muted during the shortened Black Friday trading session.
The S&P still closed the week more than 1 percent higher after minutes from the Fed’s November meeting, in which the central bank raised its key cash rate by 0.75 percentage point for the fourth straight time, indicated that most officials were prepared to slow the pace of rate hikes soon when they are convinced that inflation has been tamed.
“We are probably seeing the end of the central bank storm and that is enough relief for most markets to see positive performances,” said Florian Ielpo, head of macro at Lombard Odier. “The Fed is no longer behind the curve, or so it seems.
US Treasuries also clicked on Friday. The two-year Treasury yield was flat at 4.48 percent, while the 10-year yield was little changed at 3.73 percent.
The yield on 10-year government bonds jumped as high as 4.34 percent at the end of October, the highest level since 2007, but has since fallen back as investors began betting that inflation in the world’s biggest economy may have peaked. Inflation erodes the value of fixed bond payments and makes them less attractive to investors.
The U.S. dollar, meanwhile, gained 0.2 percent against a basket of six peers, paring its more than 4 percent fall in November.
European stocks took a cue from the tame US session and traded near a flat line. The regional Stoxx Europe 600 was flat, while London’s FTSE 100 rose 0.3 percent.
Meanwhile, Asian stocks fell as pessimism over rising Covid-19 cases in China dampened investor sentiment. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng fell 0.5 percent, erasing earlier losses, while Japan’s Topix ended unchanged and South Korea’s Kospi lost 0.1 percent. The Chinese CSI 300 gained 0.5 percent after the first losses.
Oil prices gave up morning gains to trade slightly lower, with Brent crude, the international benchmark, down 0.4 percent at $84.97 a barrel. U.S. benchmark West Texas Intermediate fell 0.3 percent to $77.73 a barrel. Both prices are down about 3 percent for the week, with concerns over the outlook for China’s massive economy weighing on sentiment.