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Wall St ends higher as banks climb in earnings season kickoff


Traders work on the trading floor at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York City, U.S., January 5, 2023. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly

U.S. stocks finished higher and registered a second straight week of gains on Friday, with shares of JPMorgan Chase and other banks rising following their fourth-quarter results, which kicked off the earnings season.

Financials (.SPSY) were among sectors giving the S&P 500 the most support.

But concern over results and guidance from companies in the coming weeks kept investors cautious. Year-over-year earnings from S&P 500 companies are expected to have declined 2.2% for the quarter, according to Refinitiv data.

“This has shifted the focus back to earnings,” said Peter Tuz, president of Chase Investment Counsel in Charlottesville, Virginia.

“Even though the earnings were basically OK, people are just kind of stepping back, and you’re going to see a wait-and-see attitude with stocks” as investors hear more from company executives.

Wall Street’s biggest banks stockpiled more rainy-day funds to prepare for a possible recession and reported weak investment banking results while showing caution about forecasting income growth. But they said consumers remained healthy and higher rates boosted profits.

JPMorgan Chase & Co (JPM.N) and Bank of America Corp (BAC.N) beat quarterly earnings estimates, while Wells Fargo & Co (WFC.N) and Citigroup Inc (C.N) fell short of quarterly profit estimates. But shares of all four firms rose, along with the S&P 500 banks index (.SPXBK)

Tesla (TSLA.O) shares declined, limiting gains in the S&P 500, after it slashed prices on its electric vehicles in the United States and Europe by as much as 20% after missing 2022 deliveries estimates.

The University of Michigan’s survey on Friday showed an improvement in U.S. consumer sentiment, with one-year inflation outlook falling in January to the lowest level since the spring of 2021.

On Thursday, stocks rose after U.S. consumer prices fell for the first time in more than 2-1/2 years in December.

According to preliminary data, the S&P 500 (.SPX) gained 15.54 points, or 0.39%, to end at 3,998.71 points, while the Nasdaq Composite (.IXIC) gained 77.99 points, or 0.71%, to 11,079.09. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (.DJI) rose 109.61 points, or 0.32%, to 34,299.58.

All three major indexes posted gains for a second straight week, with Thursday’s Consumer Price Index and other recent data bolstering hopes that a sustained downward trend in inflation could give the Federal Reserve room to dial back on its interest rate hikes.

The U.S. stock market will be closed Monday for the Martin Luther King Jr. Day holiday.

Money market participants see a 91.6% chance the Fed will hike the benchmark rate by 25 basis points in February, but expect the terminal rate at 4.9% by June.

Among other earnings reports, UnitedHealth Group Inc (UNH.N) shares rose after beating Wall Street expectations for fourth-quarter profit.

Shares of Delta Air Lines Inc (DAL.N) dropped as the company forecast first-quarter profit below expectations.