Stocks went nowhere on Friday, though by virtue of a positive close, the S&P 500 made a new all-time high. After surging to a record high on Thursday, the market opened about flat and stayed in a very tight range for most all of the day Friday, finishing the week fractionally in the green.
First, the scoreboard:
- Dow: 18,263, +11, (+0.1%)
- S&P 500: 2,122, +1, (+0.1%)
- Nasdaq: 5,046, -4, (-0.1%)
And now, the top stories on Friday:
1. The number of US oil rigs in use fell for the 23rd straight week, with the total number of rigs now sitting about 60% below the October 2014 peak at 660. West Texas Intermediate crude oil, which has been trading around $US60 for the last few weeks, finished the day roughly unchanged at about $US60.65 a barrel. Early Friday morning, however, crude oil prices fell about 2%.
2. Economic data continues to disappoint. On Friday, the University of Michigan’s preliminary reading on consumer confidence in May was a big miss, with the index falling to 88.6 from a reading of 95.9 in April. In a statement, Richard Curtin, chief economist for the survey, said the decline in confidence reflects a belief among consumers that there will not be a rebound following the economy’s disappointing start to the year.
3. Also in economic data, the latest report on industrial production disappointed, with production going nowhere in April and capacity utilization falling to 78.2% from 78.4% in March. The big declines in utilization came from the mining sector, where just 84% of available capacity was used in April, down from 84.9% the prior month and 89.6% last year. The New York Fed’s reading on business activity in the New York region also disappointed.
4. It was 13F day on Wall Street, the final day that hedge funds were able to disclose their positions at the end of the first quarter to the SEC. Among the notable position changes were Omega Advisors’ Leon Cooperman selling the remainder of his stake in Apple and Third Point’s Dan Loeb liquidating his position in Alibaba.
5. Also in hedge fund news, activist investor Carl Icahn announced that he has invested $US100 million in Lyft a ride-sharing company that competes with Uber. Lyft’s latest round of financing values it at $US2.5 billion and Icahn now has a 4% stake in the company. Notably, another one of Lyft’s investors is Marc Andreessen, who Icahn once sparred with over eBay, with Icahn saying that Andreessen had “screwed more people than Casanova.”
6. Netflix shares hit a new all-time high on Friday, rising more than 4% to north of $US613 per share following news the company might be in talks to enter China’s online video market. Netflix is now valued at more than $US37 billion.