Stocks inched slightly upward Friday, with the Nasdaq shaking off an Apple-fueled (AAPL) slide, after officials hinted the Federal Reserve could hold off from hiking interest rates at its meeting in September.
The S&P 500 (^GSPC) added about 0.1%, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average (^DJI) was up 0.2%. The Nasdaq Composite (^IXIC) put on around 0.1% as Apple’s shares recovered from a two-day slump that dragged down tech stocks.
All three of the indexes ended the week with losses, however.
Investors on Friday weighed comments by several Fed policymakers that appeared to signal they could hold off from further rate hikes this year. That optimism was bolstered by Federal Reserve Bank of New York President John Williams saying on Thursday that US monetary policy is “in a good place,” though he did stress officials would be guided by economic data.
Inflation data is key to the Fed’s decision on whether to keep rates higher for longer, and concerns are growing about rising energy prices and their potential to keep price pressures hot. The start of a strike at Chevron’s natural gas plants in Australia — which provide over 5% of global LNG supply — was seen as driving a jump in European gas futures (NG=F) on Friday. That follows a recent run-up in oil prices (CL=F) that also spread worries.
Reports of Chinese curbs on the use of the iPhone by government officials and inside state companies sent Apple shares tumbling this week, wiping almost $200 billion off the stock’s market value. The slide sent jitters through markets, hitting the iPhone maker’s Asia suppliers in particular. Apple stock ended up around 0.4% on Friday but lost around 6% for the week.
But with Apple just days away from launching its next iPhone model, some analysts have soured on the stock — meaning its plunge may not be over yet. At the same time, Samsung is positioning its new Galaxy foldable smartphones as key contenders to take market share from the iPhone.
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