Stocks gave up an early rally Friday and struggled to another mixed finish as investors continued sell former favorites like retailers. Household goods makers rose again as a week of choppy trading concluded.
Stocks surged in early trading after better-than-expected reports from companies including Procter & Gamble, American Express and PayPal. Procter & Gamble, the world’s largest consumer products maker, had its biggest rally in 10 years. But the gains for indexes faded after a report showed U.S. home sales fell for the sixth month in a row. That hurt smaller and more U.S.-focused companies.
“We don’t see too many other yellow or red flags right now, but (housing is) certainly one of them,” said Mona Mahajan, U.S. investment strategist for Allianz Global Investors. Mahajan said that company earnings aren’t doing much for the stock market right now because investors know the next two quarters should be strong, and they’re concerned that growth in 2019 will be worse than expected.
The S&P 500 index lost 1 point to 2,767.78. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gave up most of an early gain. It jumped as much as 229 points early on but finished 64.89 points higher, or 0.3 percent, at 25,444.34.
The Nasdaq composite sagged 36.11 points, or 0.5 percent, to 7,449.03. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks lost 18.71 points, or 1.2 percent, to 1,542.04. The Russell 2000 is at its lowest in almost six months as investors worry that the U.S. economy could slow and interest rates could rise, a bigger challenge for smaller companies.