Stocks end a turbulent week on a mixed note following the release of upbeat retail sales data.
The Dow and broader U.S. stock finished mixed on Friday, as investors dissected the latest news on the economy and Covid-19 vaccine trials.
All of Wall Street’s major indices finished in positive territory for most of the day before reversing course in the final hour of trade. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DIA) rose 112.11 points, or 0.4%, to 28,606.310.
The broad S&P 500 Index (SPY) of large-cap stocks reversed gains to finish flat at 3,483.81. Four of 11 primary sectors finished in positive territory, with healthcare leading the pack. Industrials, utilities and materials companies also reported strong gains. On the opposite side of the ledger, energy stocks declined sharply.
Meanwhile, the technology-focused Nasdaq Composite Index (QQQ) fell 0.4% to 11,671.56.
A measure of implied volatility known as the CBOE VIX (VXX) declined on Friday for the first time in five sessions. The so-called “investor fear index” bottomed at 26.19 on a scale of 1-100 where 20 represents the historical average. It would eventually settle down 1.5% at 26.56.
In economic data, U.S. retail sales rose for a fifth consecutive month in September, highlighting the resilience of the consumer-led recovery. Receipts at retail stores climbed 1.9%, well above forecasts calling for a 0.8% gain, the Commerce Department reported Friday.
In other news, Pfizer laid out a timetable for the development of its Covid-19 vaccine, with CEO Albert Bourla announcing that an emergency-use treatment could be available as early as November. The timeline seems to corroborate President Trump’s claims that a vaccine could be available in a matter of weeks.
The Final Word: A Covid-19 vaccine would go a long way in fighting the pandemic and aiding in the economic recovery. It remains to be seen whether Pfizer can meet its ambitious timelines over the next four weeks.