US stocks finished mostly higher on Friday

News Hour:

US stocks finished mostly higher on Friday, bucking the trend in most global equity markets as worries about tightening monetary policy pressured sentiment.

The Dow and S&P 500 ended modestly higher, but the Nasdaq faded into negative territory at the end of the session.  London, Paris, and Frankfurt all ended down, having abandoned early attempts at a modest rebound. Tokyo and Hong Kong also fell, reports BSS.

After an exhausting week dominated by intense speculation on the future of interest rates, there was also much portfolio-shuffling at the end of the quarter. Some bargain-hunting propped up Wall Street stocks.

“A buy-the-dip mentality has been an incessant mindset for years now, so it is fair to say that there will be an assumption that it will come into play again,” said Briefing.com analyst Patrick O’Hare in a note published before Friday’s session.

The euro declined Friday but held above $1.14, after talk of tighter ECB rates pushed the euro to more than one-year highs this week.

“The jawboning by the heads of the European Central Bank, the Bank of England and the Bank of Canada this week suggested the period of divergent monetary policy between the Fed and other major central banks around the world, a pillar of the dollar’s broad rally since 2014, may be nearing its final chapter,” said Omer Esiner, an analyst at Commonwealth FX.

“Such a scenario could remove a key source of support for the dollar going forward.”

Major US indices won solid gains over the first half of 2017 amid improving economic data, better earnings, and optimism that President Donald Trump would win passage of tax cuts and other growth measures.

However, analysts are more cautious about the second half of the year, pointing to the recent lurches in technology stocks as a potential harbinger of broader volatility.

Other challenges include moves by the Federal Reserve and other global central banks to tighten monetary policy and the fading prospects of Trump’s growth agenda.

Wells Fargo predicted that the S&P 500 would end the year between 2,230 and 2,330, down 100-200 points from current levels. Other dampening factors include lofty valuations and worries about inflation, Wells Fargo said in a note this week.

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