Market Update: U.S. Stocks Rise Following Bank Earnings; Nasdaq Ekes Out New Record

U.S. stocks advanced Friday, with the Nasdaq eking out a fresh record high as earnings optimism kept trade jitters at back.

Stocks Finish Mostly Higher

Equities concluded a positive week in the black with the Dow Jones and S&P 500 recording their sixth gain in seven days.

Dow industrials rose 94.52 points, or 0.4%, to 25,019.41. Wallgreens Boots Alliance Inc. (WBA) led the advance, with shares of United Technologies Corp (UTX) and Walt Disney Co (DIS) following closely.

The broader S&P 500 Index climbed 0.2% to 2,802.56, with five of 11 primary sectors reporting gains. Industrials and consumer staples led the uptrend with gains of 0.6% apiece.

The technology-driven Nasdaq Composite Index gave up virtually all of its gains by the close, but still managed to notch its second consecutive record high. The benchmark closed up 2.06 points at 7,825.98.

A measure of implied volatility known as the CBOE VIX trended in the opposite direction of stocks, reaching a session low of 11.62. The so-called “fear index” settled down 3.1% at 12.19 on a scale of 1-100 where 20 represents the historic average.

Bank Earnings

Wall Street’s earnings season began in earnest Friday after a trio of banks reported second-quarter results.

J.P. Morgan Chase & Co (JPM) earned $2.22 per share on revenue of $26.8 billion, beating both top and bottom line estimates. Citigroup Inc. (C) also reported better than expected results with per-share earnings of $1.63 on $4.5 billion in sales.

Wells Fargo & Co (WFC) was the worst performer relative to Wall Street’s forecasts. The bank earned $0.98 per sare on revenue of $21.6 billion. Analysts had called for an EPS of $1.12.

Bank earnings continue next week, with Bank of America (BAC), Goldman Sachs Group (GS) and Morgan Stanley (MS) scheduled to report between July 16-18.

Cryptocurrencies Edge Higher as Bitcoin Defends $6,000

Bitcoin’s successful defense of the $6,000 support level spurred a modest rally for cryptocurrencies on Friday. The total market cap of all coins reached a high near $251 billion, according to CoinMarketCap. That represents a gain of roughly $6 billion from the previous day.

At the time of writing, the total market was valued at roughly $247 billion.

The bitcoin price reached a session high of $6,310 before backtracking later in the session. BTC/USD is currently valued around $6,193, taking 43.1% of the total market. The largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization has held above $6,000 for the past two weeks, a sign that prices may have bottomed.

Bitcoin cash rose 1.7% to $693. Ethereum Ripple and EOS were little changed compared with 24 hours ago.

The digital currency market remains in limbo with retail traders on the sidelines and institutions waiting for greater regulatory clarity before taking the plunge. Trading volumes continue to fluctuate between $11-$12 billion on Friday.

Disclaimer: The author owns bitcoin, Ethereum and other cryptocurrencies. He holds investment positions in the coins, but does not engage in short-term or day-trading.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Chief Editor to and Contributor to, Sam Bourgi has spent the past nine years focused on economics, markets and cryptocurrencies. His work has been featured in and cited by some of the world's leading newscasts, including Barron's, CBOE and Forbes. Avid crypto watchers and those with a libertarian persuasion can follow him on twitter at @hsbourgi

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