Stocks stall, S&P 500 still on track for a 3rd weekly gain

Business

People wearing face masks stand next to a bank’s electronic board showing the Hong Kong share index in Hong Kong, Friday, June 11, 2021. Shares were mostly higher in Asia on Friday after the S&P 500 index notched another record high despite a 5% surge in U.S. consumer prices in May. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)

Stocks stalled in afternoon trading Friday, though the S&P 500 is still on pace for its third weekly gain in a row.

A day after inching to an all-time high, the S&P 500 was up less than 0.1% as of 2:14 p.m. Eastern, after spending much of the day in the red. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 35 points, or 0.1%, to 34,430 and the Nasdaq Composite rose 0.2%. With the exception of the Dow, the indexes are on pace to close the week higher.

Investors bid up shares in smaller company stocks, which pushed the Russell 2000 index 0.8% higher. The Russell is up 17.9% this year, outgaining the benchmark S&P 500’s advance of 12.9%.

Technology and financial companies made some of the broadest gains. Chipmaker Nvidia rose 2.7% and Charles Schwab rose 1.3%. The gains were offset by a broad slide for health care stocks, with several companies giving investors disappointing development updates.

Vertex Pharmaceuticals dropped 10.3% after telling investors it will end development of a potential treatment for a genetic condition that targets the liver. Incyte fell 5.6% as its potential eczema cream ruxolitinib faces a delayed regulatory review. The two stocks topped the list of decliners in the S&P 500.

Investors were relieved to see Thursday that a much-anticipated report showed that a big rise in consumer-level inflation last month was mostly attributed to temporary factors. That could mean less pressure on the Federal Reserve to pull back on its measures supporting the economy. The Fed holds its next meeting on interest rate policy next week.

“You kind of have this notion that worries about inflation from the investor base might have peaked,” said Ross Mayfield, investment strategist at Baird.

A significant share of May’s rise in consumer prices was tied to the sale of used cars, which is largely attributed to purchases by rental car companies beefing up their fleets as people return to traveling.

Bond yields were mostly higher Friday, though the yield on the closely watched 10-year Treasury note was trading at 1.46%, down from 1.57% a week ago. Yields have been mostly headed lower this week despite reports showing more strength in the economy and possible signs of inflation.

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