By Peter Nurse
Investing.com — U.S. stocks closed mixed on Friday, with signs consumers are worried about persistent inflation.
President Joe Biden continues his trip to Europe aimed at cementing Western unity against Russia. Already the U.S. and EU have agreed to an energy deal aimed at reducing the bloc’s reliance on Russia for natural gas.
At 4:12 PM ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 153 points, or 0.4%, the S&P 500 was up 0.5%, higher and the Nasdaq was down 0.2%.
The three main averages on Wall Street closed higher Thursday, with the climbing over 350 points, or 1%, the rising 1.4% and the gaining 1.9%. The latter two indices are on course for their second consecutive winning week, while the Dow is largely flat week to date.
Biden visited American troops in Poland on Friday. Poland, a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, has taken in millions of Ukrainian refugees.
This follows meetings in Brussels on Thursday with NATO and European allies, where the president called for Russia to be removed from the G20 group of countries, while agreeing to send more aid to Ukraine and levying more sanctions on Moscow.
Back in the U.S., Federal Reserve officials continued their hawkish guidance after the central bank raised the benchmark lending rate by a quarter point at its meeting last week, the first increase since December 2018.
Chicago Fed President Charles Evans said Thursday that the central bank needs to raise rates this year and next to tame inflation before it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.
The University of Michigan’s sentiment index showed U.S. consumer sentiment deteriorated further in late March, falling to a reading of 59.4 from 59.7 earlier in the month.
In the corporate sector, the Big Tech stocks are likely to be in the spotlight Friday after EU antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager said tough new rules targeting these tech giants are expected to come into force in October.
Apple (NASDAQ:) particularly will be in focus after a Bloomberg report saying that it is looking at launching subscription plans for its hardware.
Oil prices also steadied on Friday after the European Union and United States unveiled a deal to supply Europe with more U.S. liquefied natural gas, as leaders of the major European countries attempt to curb their reliance on Russia for their energy needs.
Additionally, the United States and its allies were said to be discussing a possible further coordinated release of oil from storage.
By 1:54 PM ET, futures traded up 0.3% at $112.66 a barrel, while the contract rose 0.2% to $119.30. Both contracts were still on course for their first weekly gains in three weeks, with Brent around 10% higher and WTI up 7%.
Additionally, fell 0.4% to $1,954/oz.
This story was originally published at 7:04 AM ET and updated.
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