Stocks start higher, but are still headed for weekly losses

Friday, May 14, 2021 | The Associated Press


An employee of a bank walks by screens showing the Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI), left, and the foreign exchange rate between U.S. dollar and South Korean won at the foreign exchange dealing room in Seoul, South Korea, Friday, May 14, 2021. Asian shares rose Friday after Wall Street put the brakes on a three-day losing streak with a broad stock market rally powered by Big Tech companies and banks. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)

Stocks were solidly higher in early trading on Friday, but the market is still on track to end the week in the red after three days of steep drops earlier in the week. Investors continue to focus on the possibility of inflation as the U.S. economy recovers from the coronavirus pandemic.

The S&P 500 index was up 1.1% as of 10:15 a.m. Eastern. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 0.8% and the Nasdaq Composite, where the losses this week have been steeper, was up 1.5%. Even with the gains, the S&P 500 is on pace to end the week down 1.8% and the Nasdaq down 3.1%.

Disney fell 4% after reporting lower revenue and missing forecasts for growth in subscriber additions to its video streaming service. Disney had been adding subscribers at a breakneck pace the past year, helped by popular shows like “The Mandalorian” and the pandemic, which kept many Americans at home with little to do except watch TV.

Technology stocks led the gainers after sinking earlier in the week as investors fretted about signs of rising inflation. Apple, Microsoft, Facebook and Google's parent company all rose 1% or more.

Investors have been questioning whether rising inflation will be something temporary, as the Federal Reserve has said, or something more durable that the Fed will have to address. The central bank has kept interest rates low to aid the recovery, but concerns are growing that it will have to shift its position if inflation starts running too hot.

Data from Commerce Department on Friday showed Americans kept up their share of retail purchases in April, helped by the stimulus checks that have gone out in the last few weeks. However economists expected retail sales figures to be slightly higher for the month. Sales were up at restaurants and bars in the month, according to the data.

Bond yields have risen sharply this week but pulled back slightly on Friday. The yield on the 10-year Treasury fell to 1.63% from 1.66% a day earlier.

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