US stock indexes mostly down in afternoon trading; oil rises

US stocks were little changed on Friday, with the S&P 500 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average firmly on course to book their biggest first-quarter gains in four years.

The S&P 500 index showed eight 52-week highs and one low, while the Nasdaq recorded 56 highs and 10 lows.

For the month, the Nasdaq rose 1.7%, its fifth straight advance - leaving it up more than 21% over the past 12 months. Utilities and other high-dividend stocks fell. The stock added $3.76 to $36.50.

West Texas Intermediate (WTI) added 1.78% to stand at $50.39 a barrel. The Dow Jones could turn out to be the underperformance with a possible gain of around 4.8 percent.

Looking ahead to the second quarter, analysts said investor focus is turning to whether political developments will cloud the brightening global economic outlook. Treasuries rose and the USA dollar dropped slightly.

Other companies that sell athletic apparel were pressured as well, including Nike, which lost 1.2 per cent, and Under Armour, which shed 2.3 per cent. Shares of FMC rose 5.7% in premarket trading, while DuPont was slightly higher.

USA stock markets closed higher on Thursday, led by financial shares, after data showed U.S. economic growth was stronger than previously reported last quarter, helped by robust consumer spending, and the tech-heavy Nasdaq set a record closing high.

Despite the upward revision, the GDP growth in the fourth quarter still reflects a notable slowdown from the 3.5% jump seen in the third quarter.

Financial stocks led losses overall for the day. It grew at 3.5% - up from 3%.

Trump earned $153M and paid $36.5M in taxes in 2005
But mostly, it had its critics, including Jason Del Rey of Recode: "Maddow just convinced millions more to cut the cable cord". The White House has not said whether or not the president plans to release his returns while he's in office.

"Economic data still continues to be impressive", Kepner said.

"If corporate profits can continue to rise in 2017 then we could see further strength in the United States labour market, which could put more pressure on wage growth and on the Fed to hike interest rates, possibly more than the two rate hikes already anticipated by the Fed's dot plot".

At 11:327 a.m ET, the Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index was down 11.48 points, or 0.07 per cent, to 15,567.28. Futures trading earlier had pointed to a lower start.

Shares added nearly 6% to stand at $48.68 in NY. Eastern Time. The Chicago purchasing managers index for March is expected at 9:45 a.m.

Stocks slid into a weak finish Friday as mixed consumer spending and income data, and an unexpected bump up in Midwest manufacturing helped confuse the end-of-quarter trade.

This will be a useful gauge in terms of seeing how the USA economy is doing and where it may be heading in forthcoming months under the relatively new President Trump. Economists had expected the pace of GDP growth to be upwardly revised to 2.0 percent. The Nasdaq fell 2.61 points to 5,911.74.

TAKE THE WHEEL: Shares in two big auto dealership companies were in a skid.

It predicted its sales would fall this quarter.

Stocks moved mostly higher during trading on Thursday following the lackluster performance seen in the previous session.

  • Ronnie Bowen