After trending higher over the past several sessions, stocks turned in a relatively lackluster performance during trading on Friday. The major averages fluctuated over the course of the session before eventually ending the day mixed.

While the Nasdaq (NASDAQI:COMP) inched up 26.98 points or 0.2 percent to a new record closing high of 16,428.82, the S&P 500 (SPI:SP500) edged down 7.35 points or 0.1 percent to 5,234.18 and the Dow (DOWI:DJI) slid 305.47 points or 0.8 percent to 39,475.90.

Despite the mixed performance on the day, the major averages all moved sharply higher for the week. The Nasdaq spiked by 2.9 percent, the S&P 500 surged by 2.3 percent and the Dow jumped by 2.0 percent.

Profit taking contributed to modest weakness in early trading, with some traders looking to cash in on the recent strength in the markets.

Selling pressure remained relatively subdued, however, as traders remain optimistic about the outlook for interest rates following the Federal Reserve’s monetary policy announcement earlier in the week.

While the timing of the first rate remains somewhat uncertain the chances of a quarter point rate cut in June have rebounded to 66.5 percent, according to CME Group’s FedWatch Tool.

Nvidia (NASDAQ:NVDA) helped lead a subsequent rebound by the tech-heavy Nasdaq, with the chipmaker surging by 3.1 percent.

The AI darling, which has recently been a key driver of trading on Wall Street, ended the day at a record closing high.

Shares of FedEx (NYSE:FDX) also spiked by 7.4 percent after the delivery giant reported fiscal third quarter results that beat expectations and announced a new $5 billion share repurchase program.

Meanwhile, shares of Lululemon (NASDAQ:LULU) plunged by 15.9 percent after the athletic apparel retailer reported better than expected fiscal fourth quarter results but provided disappointing guidance.

Athletic footwear and apparel giant Nike (NYSE:NKE) also tumbled by 6.9 percent after reporting fiscal third quarter earnings and revenues that exceeded estimates but slowing growth in China.

Sector News

Most of the major sectors showed only modest moves on the day, but financial stocks saw considerable weakness after moving sharply higher over the two previous sessions.

Reflecting the weakness in the sector, the NYSE Arca Broker/Dealer Index slid by 1.7 percent and the KBW Bank Index fell by 1.5 percent.

Notable weakness was also visible among telecom stocks, as reflected by the 1.5 percent loss posted by the NYSE Arca North American Telecom Index.

Gold, commercial real estate and airline stocks also moved to the downside on the day, although selling pressure was relatively subdued.

Other Markets

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region turned in a mixed performance during trading on Friday. Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index crept up by 0.2 percent, while China’s Shanghai Composite Index slumped by 1.0 percent and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index plunged by 2.2 percent.

The major European markets also finished the day mixed. While the French CAC 40 Index fell by 0.3percent, the German DAX Index inched up by 0.2 percent and the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index climbed by 0.6 percent.

In the bond market, treasuries showed a strong move to the upside after ending the previous session roughly flat. Subsequently, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, slid 5.3 basis points to 4.218 percent.

Looking Ahead

Next week’s trading may be impacted by reaction to reports on new home sales, durable goods orders, consumer confidence and pending home sales.

However, a report on personal income and spending that includes readings on inflation said to be preferred by the Fed will be released when the markets are closed for Good Friday.


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