Stocks rallied through the trading day on Friday, as the S&P 500 turned green again for the year. The Nasdaq climbed back above 5,000, as tech stocks including Alphabet and Microsoft rallied sharply following better-than-expected earnings.
First, the scoreboard:
- Dow Jones: 17,650.34, +161.18, (0.92%)
- S&P 500: 2,075.29, +22.78, (1.11%)
- Nasdaq: 5,034.01, +113.96, (2.32%)
And now, the top stories on Friday:
- The People’s Bank of China cut interest rates. The central bank cut the reserve-requirement ratio (RRR) was cut by 0.5 points, and the benchmark interest rate by 0.25%, bringing it to 4.35% to 4.6%. This is the bank’s sixth interest-rate cut this year, as it deals with slowing economic growth and low inflation.
- The US oil rig count fell by one to 594 this week, according to driller Baker Hughes. It was the eighth straight week of declines in this renewed slump, since the initial tumble that started late last year after oil prices crashed. The combined count of oil and gas rigs rigs was unchanged at 787, and at the lowest level since April 2002. On Friday, West Texas Intermediate crude oil futures in New York fell by as much as 2% to as low as $US44.22 per barrel.
- Skechers cratered by as much 33% in trading on Friday after the company reported third-quarter earnings that were lower than expected. The company earned record net sales of $US856.2 million, while analysts had estimated $US876.6 million. The company said legal costs on personal injury and intellectual property suits dented its earnings. The stock is still up about 71% year-to-date.
- In economic data, Markit’s flash US manufacturing PMI reading for October came in at a five-month high of 54.0. Production levels and volumes of new work rose, and the rise in output was the fastest since March. Survey respondents said there was stronger demand from domestic markets. Earlier this month, regional surveys showed that the manufacturing industry was contracting, as it worked through the impact of the strong dollar and weaker global demand.