S&P Closes Lower, But Pops for H1

U.S. stocks ticked down Friday as traders digested fresh economic data that indicated slowing inflation, as well as better-than-expected consumer sentiment figures. They also counted down to the end of a strong first half of 2024.

The Dow Jones Industrials dropped 40.53 points to finish the week and first half at 39,123,53.

The much-broader index dipped 22.13 points to 5,460.74.

The NASDAQ sagged 126.08 points to 17,732.60.

The technology-heavy NASDAQ led the way over the first half, climbing 18.5% as the artificial intelligence craze captured investor excitement. The broad S&P 500 jumped more than 14%, while the blue-chip Dow has lagged with a gain of just 3.6%. Nvidia shares rose just 0.1% on Friday.

Part of the reason for the Dow’s underperformance stems from an idiosyncratic pullback in the second quarter. The Dow slipped nearly 2% during the period, while the S&P 500 added 4% and NASDAQ added more than 9%, during the same timeframe.

All three have gained ground in June. The NASDAQ once again led with a month-to-date rally of more than 6%. The S&P 500 tacked on 4% and Dow gained around 1%.

Week to date, the NASDAQ has added 0.5%. The S&P 500 is flat, while the Dow fell 0.3%.

Nike shares slipped more than 20% after the athletic retailer cut its full-year guidance. Foot Locker shares declined almost 3% in sympathy.

Inflation in May slowed to its lowest annual rate in more than three years, the Commerce Department reported on Friday. Core PCE, which excludes the more volatile food and energy prices, rose just 0.1% last month and 2.6% from the prior year. Both estimates were in line with the Dow Jones consensus estimates. The core PCE index is the Federal Reserve’s preferred inflation measure. Headline PCE, which includes food and energy, was flat on the month and also up 2.6% on an annual basis, also in line with expectations.

The consumer sentiment index for June also came in higher than expected, rising to 68.2 from the preliminary 65.6 reading. The one-year inflation outlook also fell to 3% from 3.3% expected in May.

Prices for the 10-year Treasury fell slightly, raising yields to 4.38% from Thursday’s 4.29%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.

Oil prices subtracted 30 cents at $81.44 U.S. a barrel.

Gold prices crumbled $1.10 to $2,335.50

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