S&P 500 CLOSES AT ALL-TIME HIGH: Here's what you need to know

Stocks closed little changed on a relatively calm summer Friday for the markets, and the S&P 500 inched above its previous closing high once again.

The Dow finished the week higher, after breaking a nine-day streak of gains to all-time highs on Thursday.

First, the scoreboard:

  • Dow: 18,557.95, +40.72, (0.22%)
  • S&P 500: 2,173.66, +8.49, (0.39%)
  • Nasdaq: 5,098.66, +24.76, (0.49%)
  • WTI crude oil: $44.19, -$0.56, (-1.3%)
  1. Verizon is close to buying Yahoo. According to Bloomberg, both companies are in exclusive talks, and there could be an announcement in the next few days. The report said the deal price is about $5 billion, which Recode corroborated, noting that it would exclude Yahoo’s patent portfolio, to add Yahoo’s internal assets to AOL. CNBC reported that Verizon’s bid includes Yahoo’s real estate assets. Earlier this week Yahoo reported second-quarter results in what was widely seen as CEO Marissa Mayer’s last earnings at the head of the company. The company formally launched the process of selling its core business in February, and final bids were reportedly due on Monday.
  2. Schlumberger thinks we have seen the bottom of this oil-market cycle. CEO Paal Kibsgaard’s comments on this were preceded by those from Halliburton CEO Dave Lesar, who said on Wednesday in the company’s earnings statement that he believed “the North America market has turned.” To weather the downturn, Schlumberger has lowered prices for its clients and distributed capital mostly to assets with the highest return. It has also trimmed costs via its headcount, announcing an additional 16,000 layoffs on Thursday.
  3. American Express reported second-quarter results that beat expectations for profits, but sounded the alarm on consumers. Profits declined year-on-year even after the company managed to cut fuel costs — a major expense — by one-fifth. Overall operating revenue dropped, while the average airfare paid fell 6.4%. Load factor — a measure of how full flights are — fell one half per cent. Revenue was “hurt by competitive capacity growth, continued global macroeconomic softness and foreign currency weakness,” the company said. “We have seen historically that if there is a business confidence problem, the first thing businesses do is cut entertainment and travel,” said American Airlines President Scott Kirby during the earnings call.
  4. American manufacturing is showing an “encouraging sign of revival.” That’s according to Chris Williamson, Markit’s chief economist. The firm’s ‘ flash purchasing managers’ index for July rose to 52.9, its highest level since November. Output growth jumped to the best level in eight months, and manufacturing payrolls had the biggest gain in a year.
  5. The US oil rig count rose for a fourth straight week, according to Baker Hughes. The tally increased by 14 to 37, the gas-rig count fell by one to 88, and miscellaneous rigs rose by two to three, taking the total up 15 to 462. Amid steep cost reductions and rising oil prices in the past few weeks, producers are betting that a rebound is underway.


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