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Dow braves volatility on path to tenth straight day of gains

Dow braves volatility on path to tenth straight day of gains © Reuters. Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York City, U.S., July 20, 2023. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

By Bansari Mayur Kamdar and Johann M Cherian

(Reuters) – Wall Street rose in choppy trading on Friday, with a rally in healthcare stocks setting the blue-chip Dow index on course for its tenth straight day of gains.

After see-sawing for a while, the Dow firmed and was on track to notch its longest winning streak in almost six years.

“Valuations are very high in the technology sector,” and a bit lower in sectors such as healthcare and banking, said Paul Nolte, senior wealth advisor and market strategist for Murphy & Sylvest.

The for healthcare stocks rose 1.1% on Friday, while the NYSE FANG+TM index that houses megacap growth names slipped after falling 4.6% in the previous session as earnings from Tesla (NASDAQ:) and Netflix (NASDAQ:) failed to dazzle.

The electric carmaker and streaming video company extended previous session’s sharp losses by 0.6% and 2.3%, respectively, on Friday.

Analysts attribute the market choppiness to the expiration of monthly options on Friday and the expected special rebalancing of the multi-trillion dollar , which is due at the close of trading.

At 11:50 a.m. ET, the was up 99.61 points, or 0.28%, at 35,324.79, the S&P 500 was up 16.13 points, or 0.36%, at 4,551.00, and the was up 31.23 points, or 0.22%, at 14,094.53.

Seven of the 11 major S&P 500 sectors advanced, with utilities leading gains with a 1.7% rise.

The Nasdaq has rallied 34.3% this year, supported by optimism over artificial intelligence, a relatively resilient U.S. economy and expectations the end of the Federal Reserve’s aggressive rate hike cycle was on the horizon.

While the Fed is widely expected to go for a 25 basis point hike at its July 25-26 meeting next week, market participants have been mixed as to where it will go in the ensuing months.

American Express (NYSE:) fell 3.6% on Friday after the credit card giant missed quarterly revenue expectations and kept its forecast for full-year profit unchanged, which unnerved investors.

SLB shed 2.8% as the top oilfield services firm missed quarterly revenue expectations due to moderating drilling activity in North America.

Toymaker Mattel (NASDAQ:)’s shares added 0.8% as the much-anticipated “Barbie” film debuted in theaters globally.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners by a 1.61-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and a 1.22-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.

The S&P index recorded 31 new 52-week highs and no new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 67 new highs and 56 new lows.

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