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Wall St edges higher; bank shares mostly up after results


Traders work on the trading floor at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York City, U.S., January 5, 2023. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly

U.S. stocks were holding onto slight gains in late afternoon trading Friday, with shares of JPMorgan Chase and other banks up following their fourth-quarter results, which kicked off the earnings season.

Concerns about results and guidance from companies kept investors cautious, however, with year-over-year earnings from S&P 500 companies expected to have declined for the quarter, according to Refinitiv data.

“This has shifted the focus back to earnings,” said Peter Tuz, president of Chase Investment Counsel in Charlottesville, Virginia.

“Even though the earnings were basically OK, people are just kind of stepping back, and you’re going to see a wait-and-see attitude with stocks” as investors hear from company executives.

Major U.S. banks stockpiled more rainy-day funds to prepare for a possible recession and reported weak investment banking results, but said consumers remained healthy and higher rates boosted profits.

JPMorgan Chase & Co (JPM.N) and Bank of America Corp (BAC.N), which beat quarterly profit estimates, reversed early declines to trade higher. Wells Fargo & Co (WFC.N) and Citigroup Inc (C.N) fell short of quarterly profit estimates.

Tesla (TSLA.O) shares declined, limiting gains in the S&P 500, after it slashed prices on its electric vehicles in the United States and Europe by as much as 20% after missing 2022 deliveries estimates.

The University of Michigan’s survey on Friday showed an improvement in U.S. consumer sentiment, with one-year inflation outlook falling in January to the lowest level since the spring of 2021.

On Thursday, stocks rose after U.S. consumer prices fell for the first time in more than 2-1/2 years in December.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (.DJI) rose 45.86 points, or 0.13%, to 34,235.83, the S&P 500 (.SPX) gained 6.67 points, or 0.17%, to 3,989.84 and the Nasdaq Composite (.IXIC) added 39.89 points, or 0.36%, to 11,041.00.

The Consumer Price Index number bolstered hopes that a sustained downward trend in price pressures could give the Federal Reserve room to dial back on its interest rate hikes.

Money market participants see a 91.6% chance the Fed will hike the benchmark rate by 25 basis points in February, but expect the terminal rate at 4.9% by June.

Among other earnings reports, UnitedHealth Group Inc (UNH.N) shares rose after beating Wall Street expectations for fourth-quarter profit.

Shares of Delta Air Lines Inc (DAL.N) dropped 3.7% as the company forecast first-quarter profit below expectations.

Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a 1.51-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.47-to-1 ratio favored advancers.

The S&P 500 posted 7 new 52-week highs and 2 new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 81 new highs and 8 new lows.

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