Stocks finished higher Friday, as signs of a stabilizing Chinese economy extended the perceived “risk-on” sentiment. A report out of Beijing showed China’s economy grew at 6.1% in 2019, which was in-line with economist expectations, while industrial production surprised on the upside. The encouraging data release comes just days after the U.S. and China officially signed the “phase one” trade pact. The Dow added 50 points to finish the week 1.8% higher. The S&P 500 added 0.4% to extended its weekly gain to nearly 2.0%. The Nasdaq Composite advanced 0.3% and 2.3% for the week. All three major averages closed at record levels.
Ten of 11 S&P 500 sectors ended the day in positive territory with Energy bucking the uptrend. In earnings, CSX Corp declined 0.6% after reporting a larger-than-anticipated drop in freight volume in the most recent quarter. Trucking company JB Hunt lost 4.2% after disappointing analysts’ earnings and revenue projections. Elsewhere, Google added 2.0% following a target price increase, and surpassed the $1 trillion market capitalization level this week.
On the domestic data front, a report showed housing starts surged 16.9% in December, the largest uptick in three years, and well above expectations of a 1.1% increase. Separately, U.S. industrial production dipped 0.3% in December after gaining a downwardly revised 0.8% in the prior month. Meanwhile, the flash reading of consumer sentiment for January from the University of Michigan ticked down slightly to 99.1 from with December’s 99.3 figure. Treasuries weakened, with the yield on the benchmark 10-year note up two basis points to 1.82%.