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Banks lead stocks higher; Nasdaq hits another record high

Trader Jeffrey Vazquez, center, works on the floor

Trader Jeffrey Vazquez, center, works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, Thursday, Jan. 12, 2017.  Credit: AP / Richard Drew

Banks led U.S. stock indexes mostly higher Friday, propelling the Nasdaq composite index to its fourth record high this week.

Investors welcomed quarterly earnings from JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America and Wells Fargo, all of which reported results that exceeded Wall Street’s expectations. Financial stocks also benefited from an upward move in bond yields, which drives higher interest rates on loans.

Real estate stocks were the biggest laggard. Shares in energy companies also closed lower as crude oil prices declined. Mixed data on U.S. retail sales weighed on department store stocks.

Friday’s crop of company earnings kicks off several weeks of corporate earnings reports, giving investors new insight into the health of corporate America and the economy.

“We all thought financials would do well,” said J.J. Kinahan, TD Ameritrade’s chief strategist. “Now how about the other areas of the economy?”

The Dow Jones industrial average slipped 5.27 points, or 0.03 percent, to 19,885.73. The average had been up by 61 points earlier in the day. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index gained 0.2 percent, to 2,274.64. The Nasdaq added 0.5 percent, to 5,574.12. The index has set a record-high close six times this year. — AP

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