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U.S. stocks post mixed weekly performance on data, earnings

(Xinhua)    10:09, August 07, 2017

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U.S. stocks posted mixed weekly performance as investors digested a batch of economic data and second-quarter earnings.

For the week, the blue-chip Dow gained 1.2 percent, and the broader S&P 500 added 0.2 percent, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq decreased 0.4 percent.

On the economic front, U.S. total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 209,000 in July, well above market expectations, and the unemployment rate was little changed at 4.3 percent, according to the U.S. Labor Department Friday.

"Because last July's job growth was the second strongest of the year, the 12-month average of job creation actually dropped a bit, which puts this month's report very nicely into perspective. All the key data were stronger than expected, but none were really all that strong," said Chris Low, chief economist of FTN Financial.

Traders have kept a close eye on nonfarm payroll report and tried to find clues on when the Federal Reserve might start the balance sheet reduction and increase interest rate.

"Since the next likely rate decision is in December anyway, this report is not likely to have much impact on the Fed, especially because there is absolutely nothing here to suggest delaying the start of balance sheet reduction, which is most likely the FOMC's (Federal Open Market Committee) next move," Low added.

In the week ending July 29, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 240,000, a decrease of 5,000 from the previous week's revised level, according to the U.S. Labor Department Thursday.

Beside jobs report, important data released this past week also included non-manufacturing index, personal income, and personal consumption expenditures.

The U.S. non-manufacturing activity expanded at a slower pace in July, while businesses surveyed remained optimistic about their business conditions.

The Non-Manufacturing Index (NMI), which measures activity in the U.S. service sector, registered 53.9 in July, down 3.5 points from June's reading of 57.4, the Institute for Supply Management (ISM) said in its monthly survey on Thursday.

U.S. personal income decreased less than 0.1 percent in June, below an expected 0.3 percent increase, according to the Commerce Department Tuesday.

In June, personal consumption expenditures (PCE) increased 8.1 billion dollars, or 0.1 percent.

U.S. manufacturing activity cooled in July, while businesses remained optimistic about their business conditions.

The manufacturing index, also known as the purchasing managers index (PMI), registered 56.3 in July, down from June's reading of 57.8, said the Institute for Supply Management (ISM).

Meanwhile, the Dow has risen over 11 percent and recorded three 1,000-points milestones in 2017. The benchmark climbed above 22,000 on Wednesday, lifted by strong earnings, and posted its eighth straight record close on Friday.

Latest data from Thomson Reuters showed that the S&P 500 companies' blended earnings in the second quarter of 2017 are expected to rise 12.0 percent year on year, while the revenues are forecast to increase 5.0 percent.

After Tuesday's closing bell, Apple announced quarterly revenue of 45.4 billion U.S. dollars and quarterly earnings per diluted share of 1.67 dollars. Analysts polled by Reuters expected earnings per share of 1.57 dollars on revenue of 44.89 billion dollars.

Shares of the tech giant rallied 4.73 percent on Wednesday, and drove the Dow above 22,000 for the first time ever.

In addition, shares of Tesla rallied 6.51 percent on Thursday, after the company reported better-than-expected quarterly results.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Du Xiaofei, Bianji)

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