The Nasdaq has jumped more than one per cent, powered by strong earnings from some of the largest US companies, but the Dow and S&P finished with smaller gains as uncertainty about the government’s next round of coronavirus aid kept economic worries on the radar.
Apple shares surged 10.5 per cent to close at a record $US425.04 in the wake of blowout quarterly results and a four-for-one stock split announcement.
Amazon gained 3.7 per cent after posting its biggest profit ever while Facebook jumped 8.2 per cent after the social media platform blew past revenue expectations.
Google parent Alphabet fell 3.3 per cent though on Friday, the biggest drag on the S&P 500 and Nasdaq, as it posted the first quarterly sales dip in its 16 years as a public company.
Tim Ghriskey, chief investment strategist at Inverness Counsel in New York, said there was high demand for the tech companies’ products.
“The results were just fabulous, just so strong,” he said.
“These are extremely profitable companies and they produce products that people want.”
The four companies are among the top five in market capitalisation, representing roughly 20 per cent of the S&P 500’s total.
Apple’s gain pushed it ahead of Saudi Aramco as the world’s most valuable public company, according to Refinitiv data.
The White House and Democrats were still negotiating on coronavirus relief aid, but not yet on a path toward reaching a deal, according to House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi, hours before the expiration of a federal unemployment benefit.
“It seems like they are far apart and supposedly they are working at it and there is a lot of name calling and as usual there is a lot of bad blood between these two parties and they have to come to some compromise, clearly, but they are not there, that’s for sure,” Ghriskey said.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 114.67 points, or 0.44 per cent, to 26,428.32, the S&P 500 gained 24.9 points, or 0.77 per cent, to 3,271.12 and the Nasdaq Composite added 157.46 points, or 1.49 per cent, to 10,745.28.
It was a choppy session with each major index up and down.
The Dow at one point fell more than one per cent. In late trade, stocks moved higher into the close as Microsoft shares pared losses of more than two per cent after reports the company was said to be in talks to buy video app TikTok.
Kansas City Southern also provided a late boost, ending the session 9.7 per cent higher after the Wall Street Journal reported a group of buyout investors were considering a takeover bid for the rail operator.
US deaths from COVID-19 appeared to be rising at their fastest rate since early June, and the Midwest looked like the current epicentre of the pandemic.
The benchmark index is now about 3.4 per cent shy of its February all-time high, but faltering macroeconomic data and rising COVID-19 cases in the United States were making investors cautious again.
Still, the S&P notched its fourth weekly gain in the past five and fourth straight month of gains, with lift from massive fiscal and monetary stimulus measures to buttress the US economy during the pandemic.
For the week, the S&P gained 1.73 per cent, the Dow shed 0.15 per cent and the Nasdaq climbed 3.69 per cent.
For the month, the S&P rose 5.52 per cent, the Dow advanced 2.39 per cent and the Nasdaq rallied 6.83 per cent.
Energy stocks were the worst performing among the 11 major S&P sectors after Chevron reported a $US8.3 billion loss on asset writedowns and ExxonMobil recorded a second consecutive quarterly loss.
Caterpillar fell 2.8 per cent after the bellwether for economic activity offered little signs of improvement in equipment sales.
Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by a 1.40-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, while a 1.94-to-1 ratio favoured decliners.
The S&P 500 posted 30 new 52-week highs and no new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 104 new highs and 22 new lows.
About 11.01 billion shares changed hands in US exchanges, compared with the 10.53 billion daily average over the last 20 sessions.