Stocks were little changed on Friday as Fed Chair Janet Yellen dropped clues about the central bank’s next move.
First up, let’s check the scoreboard:
- Dow: 20.992.65, -10.32, (-0.05%)
- S&P 500: 2,381.67, -0.19, (-0.01%)
- Nasdaq: 5,868.65, +7.49, (+0.13%)
- US 10-year yield: 2.482, -0.007
- WTI Crude: $53.19 per barrel, +0.58, +1.10%
1. March is on the table. “We currently judge that it will be appropriate to gradually increase the federal funds rate if the economic data continue to come in about as we expect,” Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said at the speech in Chicago. “Indeed, at our meeting later this month, the committee will evaluate whether employment and inflation are continuing to evolve in line with our expectations, in which case a further adjustment of the federal funds rate would likely be appropriate.”
2. The largest contributor to US economic growth just had its strongest month in nearly a year. The non-manufacturing purchasing managers’ index rose to 57.6, the highest since April 2015, from 56.5 in January. It had been forecast to be unchanged.
3. The Mexican peso spiked after Wilbur Ross talked about trade. “The peso has fallen a lot mainly because of the fear of what will happen with [the North American Free Trade Agreement]. I believe that if we and the Mexicans make a very sensible trade agreement, the Mexican peso will recover quite a lot,” he told CNBC on Friday.
4. Snapchat kept rallying on Friday. Snap Inc’s shares rose by as much as 17% in trading on Friday, extending their gains a day after they became available to the public.
6. US oil rig count jumped for the 7th straight week. The rig count rose by seven to 609 this week, while the gas rig count fell by five to 146.
7. Bitcoin kept extending its lead over gold. The cryptocurrency trades up 2.6% at 1271 a coin while the yellow metal is down 0.6% at $1227 per ounce, around 7:25 a.m. ET. In recent weeks, bitcoin has managed to shrug off news that China’s biggest exchanges were going to start charging clients a flat fee of 0.2%per transaction and that they were going to block withdrawals.