U.S. stocks were little changed on Friday following a mixed reaction to earnings from JPMorgan and Intel and a modest rise in retail sales, but the S&P remained on track to notch a seventh straight week of gains.
JPMorgan Chase & Co
JPMorgan rose 1.4 percent to $45.05, while Intel fell 1 percent to $21.07. Both companies are Dow components.
The expectations for strong corporate earnings have lifted equities in recent weeks, with the S&P 500 hovering near a 28-month high and on track for a seventh week of gains, which would be the first time since April and May of 2007.
Since the expectation for strong earnings has been priced so completely into stocks, it isn't surprising that investors are acting a little more cautious right now, said Eric Teal, chief investment officer at First Citizens Bancshares in Raleigh, North Carolina, which manages $4.5 billion.
Modest gains from this point are possible. But given the gains we've had, we don't have much room to drive stock significantly higher.
Sales at U.S. retailers rose slightly less than expected in December, but for all of 2010 they posted the biggest gain in more than a decade. Separately, higher gas prices pushed overall December consumer prices up at their fastest pace in a year and a half.
The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> was down 3.78 points, or 0.03 percent, at 11,728.12. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> was up 0.90 points, or 0.07 percent, at 1,284.66. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> added 0.70 points, or 0.03 percent, at 2,735.99.
Also, rising gasoline prices drove down consumer sentiment more than expected in early January, overshadowing an improved jobs outlook and the passage of temporary federal tax breaks, the latest Thomson Reuters and the University of Michigan survey found.
China's central bank raised banks' required reserves for the fourth time in just over two months, stepping up the fight against inflation. The move weighed on commodities, sending crude oil futures down 0.5 percent to below $91 a barrel.
French drugmaker Sanofi-Aventis SA
(Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)