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What you need to know in markets on Friday

Myles Udland
Markets Reporter

To cap a holiday-shortened week, investors will face a quieter schedule than we’ve seen over the past couple days.

No major economic news is set for release on Friday, while the earnings flow should peter out with American Railcar (ARII), Cabot Oil & Gas (COG), PSE&G (PEG), and Potbelly (PBPB) among the notable names reporting results.

Investors on Friday may also brush up on their Buffett-isms, as Warren Buffett’s latest letter to Berkshire Hathaway (BRK-A, BRK-B) is set for release on Saturday morning.

On Thursday, markets had a mixed day with the Dow leading gains, rising 164 points, or 0.6%, while the S&P 500 finished just barely in the green, rising 0.1%, and the tech-heavy Nasdaq slid 0.1%. Each of the major averages is down over the three trading days this week as investors struggle to find more upward momentum after last week’s furious rally.

In the Treasury market, there was a small bid across the curve with the 10-year moving down to 2.92% and the 2-year moving slightly off its nearly 10-year high to 2.24%, though markets were little-changed from Wednesday’s big move after the latest Federal Reserve meeting minutes were taken as a hawkish signal.

The holiday-shortened trading week has been a choppy one for investors with each of the major averages down for the week ahead of Friday’s trading session.  (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

And while markets have had a couple of choppy trading sessions this week, things certainly feel calmer than the last three weeks, and as we move towards the end of fourth quarter earnings season the big picture is coming into view.

Corporate earnings were great to cap 2017 and corporates expect them to be stellar in the year ahead. Economic growth remains strong and sentiment among businesses and consumers remains near its highest levels since the election, when Donald Trump’s surprise win jolted sentiment readings higher.

The question for markets and economists now is whether earnings growth and economic sentiment will be enough to push equity markets higher. Throughout 2017, investors rode a wave of both better realized corporate results and the anticipation of policies from the Trump administration that would prove a boon to profits. Both came to pass.

And so whether the present is enough to excite an inherently forward-looking investor class will be the key question for the balance of 2018.

Myles Udland is a writer at Yahoo Finance. Follow him on Twitter @MylesUdland

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