U.S. stocks retreated on Friday, ending the Dow Jones industrial average's 10-day winning streak and pushing the benchmark S&P 500 away from the edge of a record-high close.
The S&P 500 closed at 1560.70, down 2.53 points or 0.2 per cent – after coming within 2 points on Thursday of hitting a record high. The blue-chip Dow Jones industrial average closed at 14,514.11, down 25.03 points or 0.2 per cent, marking its first decline this month. In Canada, the S&P/TSX composite index closed at 12,830.03, up 30.12 points or 0.2 per cent.
The moves followed a disappointing reading on U.S. consumer confidence. The preliminary reading of the University of Michigan’s confidence index fell to 71.8 in March, down from 77.6 in February. That’s below expectations and marks the lowest reading since December 2011.
However, U.S. industrial production was far more upbeat. In February, production rose 0.7 per cent, marking the biggest gain in three months and beating expectations.
Meanwhile, inflation readings were relatively benign, if up slightly. The U.S. consumer price index rose 2 per cent, year over year.
JPMorgan Chase & Co. fell 2 per cent and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. rose 0.6 per cent after regulators required the two financial firms to submit new capital plans following the results of recent stress tests.
JPMorgan also faced a high-profile U.S. Senate hearing on its disastrous “London Whale” trades last year, which cost the company more than $6-billion (U.S.). The hearing followed the release of a Senate report on the matter, which blamed the trading debacle on key executives.
Bank of America Corp. rose 3.8 per cent after it won approval to buy back shares.
Apple Inc. rose 2.6 per cent, a day after rival Samsung launched its latest smartphone, the Galaxy S4, in a splashy New York event that the Globe and Mail described as a “shrill mess.” Samsung shares fell in Japan.
Among key commodities, crude oil rose to $93.50 (U.S.) a barrel, up 47 cents. Gold fell to $1,590.40 an ounce, down 30 cents. Suncor Energy Inc. rose 0.5 per cent and Barrick Gold Corp. was unchanged.