Markets

Wall St little changed after GDP data; eyes on earnings

Wall Street stocks rallied on Thursday (Mar 30), with banking and oil shares gaining, as USA fourth-quarter growth was upgraded and oil prices rose above US$50 a barrel.

March 31 USA stocks were little changed on Friday, with the S&P 500 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average firmly on course to book their biggest first-quarter gains in four years.

The energy sector rose for a third straight day, supported by stronger oil prices and a 8.8-per-cent gain for ConocoPhillips, the biggest percentage riser on the S&P 500 after it agreed to sell oil and gas assets.

Official stats earlier showed the U.S. economy, or GDP - the overall value of all goods and services produced by a country- rose at a 2.1% annualized pace in the fourth quarter, which was faster than the 1.9% rate - so it was an upwards revision. The S&P 500 index closed down 5.34 points, or 0.2%, at 2,362.72, with financial and telecom stocks weighing on the index.

Seven of the 11 major S&P sectors were higher, with the energy index's 0.51 percent rise leading the advancers.

UN secretary-general starts official visit to Iraq
In addition to civilians caught in the crossfire inside the city, many more have fled their homes to escape the fighting. Iraqi witnesses have said that airstrikes earlier this month killed scores of civilians.

In futures today, the Dow is down 25 points, the Nasdaq is down five and the broader based S&P500 is down nearly three points.

The S&P 500 index showed 20 new 52-week highs and one new low, while the Nasdaq recorded 78 new highs and 16 new lows.

Also with earnings today is science Applications International Corp (NYSE: SAIC), which Wall Street expects to report quarterly earnings at $0.78 per share on revenue of $1.09nbn before the bell.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 69.17 points or 0.33 percent to settle at 20,728.49.

Looking ahead to the second quarter, analysts said investor focus is turning to whether political developments will cloud the brightening global economic outlook. Its shares picked up $1.27 to $10.54.

Consider alternatives to pellet guns in Kashmir: SC
Terming the issue as a very important one, the bench had asked both governments should sit together and take a stand on it. The apex court also asked Union of India to file a reply in this regard within April 10.

The high costs of extraction have made it hard for companies to make profits with oil prices remaining low. AutoNation fell $1.20, or 2.8 per cent, to $42.29. The stock climbed $5.50 to $17.45.

DOUBLE DEAL: FMC has agreed to buy part of DuPont's crop protection business, while DuPont has agreed to buy FMC's health and nutrition unit. Antitrust regulators in Europe wanted DuPont to make the sale as part of its combination with competitor Dow Chemical. Japan's Nikkei 225 Index slid by 0.8%, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index fell by 0.4%.

USA personal income increased 57.7 billion US dollars, or 0.4 percent in February, in line with market consensus, according to estimates released Friday by the Commerce Department.

CURRENCIES: The euro strengthened to $1.0697 from $1.0691 on Thursday. Brent crude, used to price worldwide oils, rose 3 cents to $53.16.

Ivanka Trump to become official White House employee
She has been an increasingly influential adviser to the president and her husband, Jared Kushner, is a powerful Trump adviser. The business can not make deals with any foreign state, and the trustees will confer with Gorelick over any new agreements.



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