US stock market wavers in early trading

US stock market wavers in early trading; S&P 500 index on track for third straight weekly loss

Associated Press
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Money traders work in front of screens indicating the U.S. dollar is traded at 116.266 yen while the euro is at 135,132 yen at a foreign exchange brokerage in Tokyo Friday, Jan. 16, 2015. Asian stocks were sharply lower Friday after a surprise move by the Swiss National Bank to abandon its efforts to keep its currency artificially cheap shocked the market. Japan’s Nikkei 225 dropped 2.8 percent to 16,628.06 while South Korea’s Kospi fell 1.2 percent to 1,891.04. The dollar fell to 115.983 yen from 116.207 yen while the euro rose to $1.1634 from $1.1619. (AP Photo/Koji Sasahara)


The U.S. stock market wavered in early trading on Friday, as oil companies rose along with the price of crude oil. Shares of big banks and other financial firms fell.

KEEPING SCORE: The Standard & Poor's 500 index gained six points, or 0.3 percent, to 1,999, as of 10 a.m. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 37 points, or 0.2 percent, to 17,356, while the Nasdaq composite rose 19 points, or 0.4 percent, to 4,590.

The S&P 500, a widely used benchmark for U.S. investment funds, has slumped 2 percent this week, putting it on course for its third straight weekly loss.

GOLDMAN: A slump in trading revenue helped pull Goldman Sachs's quarterly earnings down 10 percent. The Wall Street investment bank's fixed income, currency and commodities division saw a 29 percent revenue slump. Goldman's stock dropped $3.84, or 2 percent, to $174.59.

ECONOMY: U.S. factory production rose in December as manufacturers churned out more furniture, computers and clothing. The Federal Reserve said factory production increased 0.3 percent last month, the fourth straight monthly gain.

OIL: The price of benchmark U.S. crude oil rose 97 cents, or 2 percent, to $47.22 a barrel.

MEDIOCRE START: JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America and other big banks have reported sluggish profits and sales this week, getting the fourth-quarter earnings season off to a slow start. Analysts predict that big corporations will post earnings growth of 4 percent, according to S&P Capital IQ. Sales are expected to rise just 2.1 percent, largely the result of falling revenue for oil companies.

CROSSING THE POND: Germany's DAX crept up 0.2 percent, and France's CAC 40 added 0.5 percent. Britain's FTSE 100 edged up 0.2 percent.

SWISS SHOCK: The Swiss National Bank, or SNB, said Thursday that it decided to ditch an increasingly expensive policy to cap the rise of the Swiss franc. After the announcement, the Swiss franc spiked against both the euro and the dollar. The SNB had prevented the euro from trading below 1.20 Swiss francs. On Friday, the franc was stable, but Switzerland's stock market sank again, losing 4 percent.

ANALYST'S TAKE: "At least for the short term the Swiss bank action has opened up a new front of financial markets risk," said Ric Spooner, chief market analyst at CMC Markets. "The Swiss bank's move last night is a reminder to investors and traders that central bank action is a source of market risk given the scale of their activities in recent years and its impact on economic activity."

ASIA'S DAY: Major markets in Asia ended with losses. Japan's Nikkei 225 dropped 1.4 percent, while South Korea's Kospi fell 1.4 percent. Hong Kong's Hang Seng index closed with a loss of 1 percent.

CURRENCIES: The dollar edged up to 116.52 yen from 116.21 yen while the euro fell to $1.1594 from $1.1619.

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