The stock market completed a dull week with modest gains that were nonetheless good enough for record highs.
The Nasdaq composite climbed 0.2% on Friday while the S&P 500 and Dow Jones industrial average added 0.1%, inching their way to new highs. The small-cap Russell 2000 lagged with a nearly 0.2% loss at the closing bell.
Volume rose on the NYSE and fell on the Nasdaq, according to early figures. Winners led losers by 7-to-5 on the NYSE while the ratio was nearly even on the Nasdaq.
Friday’s gains were typical of the whole week, which saw nary a change in the major indexes. For the week, the S&P 500 climbed 0.1%, its fifth straight up week. The Nasdaq rose 0.2% and the Dow less than 0.2%.
Steel and steel alloy producers were some of the strongest Friday, as those groups leapt about 2%. China last month imported more than 100 million tons of iron ore, about 16% more than in August. The new data came as China approaches a steel-production drawdown for the winter season, while it seeks to curb production capacity and push its steel mills, coal mines and iron ore mines into profitable situations.
Luxembourg-based ArcelorMittal (MT) gapped to a new high after clearing a 27.71 buy point in heavy trading.
Among noteworthy breakouts, Essent Group (ESNT) rallied past the 41.54 buy point of a flat base. Volume increased 21% above its 50-day average, which is decent. On the breakout day, though, you’d ideally like to see volume rush 40% to 50% above average, even more for small and midcap names.
The mortgage insurance provider has solid fundamentals, which had earned the stock a spot on IBD’s Sector Leaders screen.
Alphabet (GOOGL) closed above the 1,006.29 buy point of a flat base but away from session highs. The parent of Google first topped the entry on Wednesday in what’s been a slow-motion breakout so far.
A day after taking a beating, the retail sector bounced back and accounted for six of the 15 best-performing industry groups Friday. Specialty stores, department stores, grocery chains and discount stores are low in the table of 197 industry groups. Ulta Beauty (ULTA) jumped 5% but remains in a steep downtrend.
Some medical stocks such as drug wholesalers, managed care providers and medical services firms were among the worst performing Friday after President Trump announced that state subsidies will be scrapped.
Fiber optics, mortgage services, trucking and other transportation stocks also lagged. The Dow transports slid 1.1%.
J.B. Hunt (JBHT) missed profit forecasts for the third quarter due to pay hikes for drivers, other cost increases and costs from hurricanes in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico. Shares slid nearly 4% in active turnover.