S&P 500 ends down with banks mostly lower, indexes post weekly gains

By Caroline Valetkevitch

NEW YORK (Reuters) – The S&P 500 ended down slightly on Friday, with bank and financial shares mostly lower on the day following quarterly reports that kicked off earnings season, but all three major U.S. stock indexes posted solid weekly gains.

Offsetting some of the declines, UnitedHealth Group’s stock rallied following its stronger-than-expected results.

Shares of JPMorgan Chase rose 0.6% and Wells Fargo eased 0.3%, while the S&P 500 banks index fell 0.9%. Both major banks reported higher quarterly profits, but said they have set aside more money for expected losses from commercial real estate loans.

The biggest drags on the benchmark index were the energy sector, down 2.8%, and financials, down 0.7%.

UnitedHealth shares jumped 7.2% and helped the Dow to end higher. Shares of other health insurers also advanced, with Humana ending up 2.5% and Cigna up 4.7%.

“We’ve rallied significantly year to date, and that was in anticipation of better-than-expected earnings,” said Oliver Pursche, senior vice president and advisor for Wealthspire Advisors in Westport, Connecticut.

“What we’re seeing now and are likely to continue to see through the end of the summer is a little bit of fatigue and lack of conviction that stocks can go materially higher.”

The day’s quarterly reports unofficially started off second-quarter U.S. earnings season. Analysts expect S&P 500 earnings to have declined 8.1% in the quarter from a year ago, according to Refintiiv data, but the majority of companies tend to beat expectations.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 113.89 points, or 0.33%, to 34,509.03, the S&P 500 lost 4.62 points, or 0.10%, to 4,505.42 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 24.87 points, or 0.18%, to 14,113.70.

For the week, the Dow was up 2.3%, the S&P 500 rose 2.4% and the Nasdaq advanced 3.3%. The S&P 500 remains up 17% for the year to date.

Among other financial company reports, Citigroup shares fell 4% after the lender’s quarterly profit tumbled, while BlackRock was down 1.5% after it posted a decline in quarterly revenue.

Some strategists said bank stocks may have sold off following recent strong gains.

The S&P banks index snapped a five-session winning streak along with the KBW regional bank index, which was down 1.9% on the day.

An index of high profile tech-related shares edged lower a day after registering a record high close.

Tesla, whose shares rose 1.3%, is the first of the growth giants to report, with earnings expected on Wednesday.

Volume on U.S. exchanges was 10.72 billion shares, compared with the 11.04 billion average for the full session over the last 20 trading days.

Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by a 2.73-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 2.33-to-1 ratio favored decliners.

The S&P 500 posted 40 new 52-week highs and 4 new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 97 new highs and 60 new lows.

(Reporting by Caroline Valetkevitch; additional reporting by Johann M Cherian and Bansari Mayur Kamdar in Bengaluru; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty, Sriraj Kalluvila, Maju Samuel, Vinay Dwivedi and David Gregorio)