By Barbara Kollmeyer and Anora Mahmudova, MarketWatch
Deere, Applied Materials, Ross Stores shares on the move
U.S. stocks traded higher for a second session in a row Friday, helped by an abeyance in White House drama, but the main indexes were still on track to finish the week lower.
The S&P 500 index added 12 points, or 0.5%, to 2,378, with nine of its 11 main sectors trading higher. Technology and industrials sectors were leading the gains, up 0.6%. Higher oil prices helped lift energy shares.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 77 points, or 0.4%, to 20,741. The Nasdaq Composite Index was up 37points, or 0.5%, at 6,092.
For the week, however, all three indexes are looking at losses of about 0.8%.
Markets were rattled earlier this week, with investors caught off guard by the sharp selloff on Wednesday after a report President Donald Trump in February asked then-Federal Bureau of Investigation Director James Comey to stop an investigation into Russian interference into the U.S. election. Some investors have questioned whether Trump will even finish his term.
Investors have increasingly questioned whether President Trump can deliver on his economic stimulus promises amid investigations.
Opinion:Market sentiment during Watergate shows how stocks might react to Trump (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/market-sentiment-during-watergate-shows-how-stocks-might-react-to-trump-2017-05-19)
"This week political risk has caught up on the market but it's still unclear whether it has any legs," wrote Deutsche Bank strategist Jim Reidand research analyst Craig Nicol in a note to clients Friday.
"Whether this latest Trump bout of volatility lasts depends on what Mr. Comey really has on the president, but there wasn't much new news to report on the story yesterday which helped U.S. equities to recover," said the Deutsche Bank team.
Observers said investors will be closely watching potential developments on the controversy next week. Lawmakers have asked the FBI to turn over the notes Comey said he made from his meetings with Trump by next week, and a congressional hearing on the matter is due to take place, at which the former FBI head has been asked to testify.
Read:Why the White House should worry: Special counsels usually result in criminal charges (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/why-the-white-house-should-worry-special-counsels-usually-result-in-criminal-charges-2017-05-18)
Economic data and Fed speakers: Once again, there are few data points to distract investors from the political roller coaster. The first-quarter, advance-services report is due at 10 a.m. Eastern Time.
St. Louis Fed President James Bullard questioned the need for a June rate hike, citing a slowdown in the U.S. economy during the first half of the year. Bullard is not a voting member of the Fed policy committee this year.
Moving stocks: Deere shares (DE) jumped 7% after earnings and sales beat Wall Street forecasts (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/deeres-stock-surges-after-big-profit-and-sales-beats-raised-outlook-2017-05-19). Earnings from Campbell Soup Co.(CPB) were below expectations, sending shares sharply lower.
Shares of Autodesk Inc.(ADSK) jumped 12% as the company said its shift to a subscription-based software model was going well.
Dynegy Inc. shares (DYN) soared 20%, and headed to a three-month high after reports that the power producer received a buyout offer from Vistra Energy(VST).
Also in the retail sector, Ross Stores Inc. (ROST) rose 1% after earnings and sales met forecasts (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/ross-shares-higher-after-eps-beats-expectations-sales-meet-forecast-2017-05-18).
Shares of Foot Locker Inc.(FL) slid 8% after weaker-than-expected first-quarter results.
Read:Only two S&P 500 companies passed this sales-and-earnings test (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/only-two-sp-500-companies-passed-this-sales-and-earnings-test-2017-05-11)
Shares of Applied Materials Inc.(AMAT) rose 2.2% after the microchip-materials maker's results and outlook topped Wall Street estimates late Thursday (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/applied-materials-shares-rise-on-earnings-beat-strong-outlook-2017-05-18).
Read:Bill Ackman has 'something to prove' after Valeant mistake (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/bill-ackman-has-something-to-prove-after-valeant-mistake-2017-05-18)
(http://www.marketwatch.com/story/bill-ackman-has-something-to-prove-after-valeant-mistake-2017-05-18)Other markets: European stocks saw gains across the board (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/european-stocks-start-digging-out-of-trump-inspired-rout-2017-05-19), with the FTSE 100 index (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/uk-stocks-break-2-day-losing-streak-after-pounds-mini-flash-crash-2017-05-19) set to break a two-day losing streak. In Asia , stocks finished mostly higher.
The dollar traded lower across the board , with the British pound recapturing the $1.30 level (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/the-pound-looks-set-for-significant-further-upside-now-that-its-regained-130-2017-05-18) it lost late Thursday after a mini "flash crash," which sent it to as low as $1.2888 within seconds.
Read:The pound looks set for 'significant further upside' now that it's regained $1.30 (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/the-pound-looks-set-for-significant-further-upside-now-that-its-regained-130-2017-05-18)Gold prices were up modestly, while oil prices added to gains, with West Texas Intermediate crude prices trading above the $50-a-barrel mark (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/optimism-ahead-of-opec-meeting-drives-further-gains-for-oil-2017-05-19).
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
May 19, 2017 10:02 ET (14:02 GMT)
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