The S&P 500 traded flat on Friday and headed for a weekly loss as investors evaluated a week’s worth of earnings results and concerns of disappointing profits.
The benchmark index last traded near the flatline. The Nasdaq Composite also traded flat, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 12 points.
All major indices are on pace to finish the week in the red, with the Dow and the S&P 500 on track for their worst weekly performances since March. The tech-heavy Nasdaq’s seen the biggest declines, down 0.5%. The Dow and S&P have lost about 0.4% and 0.2%, respectively.
“There’s the continued push-pull of the fact that the economy has been a lot more resilient than many people expected and corporate earnings have held up pretty well, all things considered,” said Chris Zaccarelli, chief investment officer at Independent Advisor Alliance.
Even so, he noted that the Federal Reserve’s raised rates substantially over the last year. Zaccarelli said that even if the central bank hikes as anticipated in May, it will likely hold rates at a higher level than the market expects.
“You can kind of see the the bull and bear case really right there in a nutshell as far as resilient economy with stronger-than-expected corporate earnings versus a very hot, very restrictive monetary policy coming from the Fed,” he said.
Earnings season continued Friday, with results from Procter & Gamble. The consumer products company gained 3.6% after beating expectations and lifting it sales forecast. As of Friday morning, 76% of S&P 500 companies reporting earnings so far have beaten analyst EPS estimates, according to FactSet.
Elsewhere, materials stocks were the worst performers, with Freeport-McMoRan falling 5.3% after posting a year-over-year decline in results. Albemarle dropped 6.4% as it announced a lithium plan with Chile.
While companies broadly beat expectations this week, overall profit reports failed boost stocks, with some investors fearing an earnings drop looms with a likely recession ahead.
“So far, earnings season is off to an uneventful start, with many companies meeting already reduced earnings expectations and that helps to explain the lack of movement in the major stock indices over the past few days,” said Carol Schleif, chief investment officer at BMO Family Office, adding that she expects stocks to trade in a tight range for some time.