U.S. stocks finish higher ahead of Memorial Day weekend

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25th May 2024 – (New York) U.S. stocks closed in positive territory on Friday, with investors displaying increased optimism as they entered the Memorial Day weekend.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average inched up 4.33 points, or 0.01 per cent, to reach 39,069.59. The S&P 500 climbed 36.88 points, or 0.70 per cent, closing at 5,304.72. The Nasdaq Composite Index experienced a notable increase of 184.76 points, or 1.10 per cent, settling at 16,920.79.

Among the primary S&P 500 sectors, ten ended the day in green territory. Communication services and technology were the leading gainers, rising by 1.29 per cent and 1.13 per cent, respectively. However, the health sector bucked the trend, declining by 0.31 per cent.

According to the survey released on Friday, the final reading of the University of Michigan’s consumer sentiment index for May was 69.1, down from April’s figure of 77.2. Expectations for inflation slightly increased compared to the previous month, remaining above pre-pandemic levels.

While the sentiment reading exceeded economists’ expectations slightly, consumers expressed a more pessimistic outlook concerning current conditions and the upcoming months.

In April, U.S. inflation stood at 3.4 per cent, the first time in months it did not surpass expectations. Joanne Hsu, survey director, noted that “deteriorating expectations suggest that multiple factors pose downside risk for consumer spending.”

The Commerce Department’s report on Friday revealed that orders for durable goods rose by 0.7 per cent in April, marking the third consecutive monthly increase. Economists surveyed by the Wall Street Journal had predicted a 0.5 per cent decline in durable goods orders. Notably, this is the first time durable goods orders have seen three consecutive monthly gains since spring 2023. Excluding transportation, orders rose by 0.4 percent.

Meanwhile, U.S. Treasury yields eased, with the benchmark 10-year yield hovering at 4.467 per cent and the 2-year yield at 4.948 per cent as of 2:30 p.m. EDT.

On the corporate front, Nvidia continued its upward momentum, closing at $1,064.69 per share, up 2.57 per cent on Friday. The company’s impressive recent earnings report sparked an early rally on Thursday, and the upcoming stock split is expected to attract more retail investors. Deckers, the parent company of apparel brands UGG, Hoka One One, and Teva, experienced a surge of 14.18 per cent in its shares on Friday afternoon. This boost followed the company’s fiscal fourth-quarter earnings report, which exceeded Wall Street expectations, with net sales reaching $959.8 million.Share