Stocks advance, J&J shares gain after breakup announcement

Table of Contents 4:02 p.m. ET: Stocks end higher, though S&P 500 posts first weekly

Stocks advanced Friday after a mixed session in the markets, with both earnings and inflation data remaining at the center of investor attention.

The S&P 500 gained, and both the Dow and Nasdaq also closed out Friday’s session in the green after a volatile trading week. Shares of Dow component Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) rose after the company said it was planning to break up into two separate companies focused on consumer health products and pharmaceuticals, respectively, in a move echoing a similar breakup announcement by General Electric (GE) earlier this week. 

As of Friday’s close, however, the S&P 500 ended the week marginally lower after five straight weeks of gains. But after weeks of advances, it still remained just slightly below all-time highs. 

“We’ve got a market that is just incredible. No matter what it’s going up, and that shouldn’t be much a surprise given how much money has been pushed into the system,” Lenore Hawkins, Tematica Research chief macro strategist, told Yahoo Finance Live. “There’s just a lot of money chasing not a whole lot of alternatives.” 

That said, a hotter-than-expected inflation print earlier this week was one key concern for investors, and reinforced that elevated price pressures were not as fleeting as many had initially expected during the recovery. Consumer prices rose at their fastest clip in 31 years in October, or by a marked 6.2% versus the same month last year, to accelerate from September’s already lofty 5.4% year-on-year rise.

The rise in prices carries implications both for corporations— many of which have had to try and pass on rising prices to end consumers to preserve margins — and for the Federal Reserve. Market pricing currently suggests the Federal Reserve will step in by mid-next year to raise interest rates to try and temper the broadening inflationary trends. 

Still, many economists have reaffirmed that the inflationary pressures will eventually ease, albeit while likely settling at a higher level than had been present before the pandemic. 

“Inflation should moderate. We’re talking about settling at 2%, 2.5% over the course of the next 12 months,” Gabriela Santos, JPMorgan Asset Management global market strategist, told Yahoo Finance Live. “So we’re still talking about real wage gains, and that’s extremely supportive certainly of people’s livelihoods, but also of consumption and hence the economy overall.”

“We do expect a big re-acceleration in growth starting this quarter and throughout next year, [and] 5% average growth just over the next three quarters,” she added. “So we would characterize this not as stagflation, but as reflation. And that difference is, reflation is actually quite good for earnings growth and quite good for the stock market, especially cyclical sectors.” 

4:02 p.m. ET: Stocks end higher, though S&P 500 posts first weekly loss in six weeks

Here’s where the major stock indexes closed out Friday’s session: 

  • S&P 500 (^GSPC): 4,682.84, +33.57 points (+0.72%)

  • Dow (^DJI): 36,100.31, +179.08 points (+0.5%)

  • Nasdaq (^IXIC): 15,860.96, +156.68 points (+1.00%)

12:38 p.m. ET: SEC rejects VanEck Bitcoin ETF

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Friday said it rejected an exchange-traded fund from VanEck that would have tracked bitcoin spot prices directly. This would have stood in contrast to the the ProShares Bitcoin Strategy ETF (BITO), which was approved and which only tracks bitcoin futures rather than prices directly.  

According to a filing, the SEC concluded that the fund did not meet requirements necessitating that the fund be “‘designed to prevent fraudulent and manipulative acts and practices’ and ‘to protect investors and the public interest.'” 

10:20 a.m. ET: Consumer confidence drops to 10-year low

Inflation concerns are hitting consumers. 

The University of Michigan’s preliminary sentiment index decreased to 66.8 from 71.7 in October, data released Friday showed. The November figure trailed all projections in a Bloomberg survey of economists which called for an increase to 72.5. Consumers expect inflation to rise 4.9% over the next year, the highest since 2008, the report showed. They expect prices will rise 2.9% over the next five to 10 years, unchanged from the previous month.

10:00 a.m. ET: Job openings take a dip

Job openings, a measure of labor demand slipped to 10.4 million on the last day of September, the Labor Department said in its monthly Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey, or JOLTS report, on Friday, down from an upwardly revised 10.6 million in August. Economists had expected 10.3 million, according to Bloomberg consensus estimates. Quits increased by 164,000 to 4.4 million, a record high.

9:30 a.m. ET: Stocks open higher after whipsaw week

Here’s where markets were trading at the open bell:

  • S&P 500 (^GSPC): 4,653.65 +4.38 (+0.09%)

  • Dow (^DJI): 35,974.97, +53.74 (+0.15%)

  • Nasdaq (^IXIC): 15,727.90, +23.62 (+0.15%)

7:50 a.m. ET: Stock futures point to a higher open

Here’s where markets were trading Friday morning: 

  • S&P 500 futures (ES=F): +9.25 points (+0.2%), to 4,652.25

  • Dow futures (YM=F): +94 points (+0.26%), to 35,923.00

  • Nasdaq futures (NQ=F): +39.00 points (+0.24%) to 16,061.75

  • Crude (CL=F): -$1,53 (-1.88%) to $80.06 a barrel

  • Gold (GC=F): -$8.50 (-0.46%) to $1,855.40 per ounce

  • 10-year Treasury (^TNX): +1.4 bps to yield 1.572%

6:11 p.m. ET Thursday: Stock futures advance

Here’s where markets were trading Thursday evening:

  • S&P 500 futures (ES=F): +4.5 points (+0.1%), to 4,647.50

  • Dow futures (YM=F): +41 points (+0.11%), to 35,870.00

  • Nasdaq futures (NQ=F): +19.5 points (+0.12%) to 16,042.25

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York City, U.S., October 27, 2021. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

Emily McCormick is a reporter for Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter

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