Wall St ends week positively; S&P 500, Dow hit record highs

The three main Wall Street indexes ended Friday higher for the day and week, with the S&P 500 (.SPX) and the Dow (.DJI) breaking closing records, as investors took strong economic data and bank earnings as signs of momentum in the U.S. pandemic recovery.

Nine of the 11 S&P sub-sectors rose on Friday. The energy (.SPNY) and information technology (.SPLRCT) indexes were the exceptions. The former, dipping 0.9%, was weighed by lower oil prices, while the latter was marginally lower, the day after its highest-ever close.

The S&P 500 and the Dow Industrials recorded their fourth straight week of gains. The S&P 500 scored three closing highs this week, while the Dow surpassed its best finish two days running.

The technology-heavy Nasdaq (.IXIC) finished less than one percent below its own all-time closing high achieved on Feb. 12.

Investor confidence on the road ahead seems steady, with the volatility index (.VIX), Wall Street’s fear gauge, falling 1.9% to its lowest close in 14 months.

“Everyone is looking at just how far we can run before we start raising interest rates,” said George Catrambone, head of Americas trading at DWS Group.

“Until we see that significant inflation growth and the Fed starts to talk about raising interest rates, I think it’s going to be goldilocks conditions.”

Reporting a 150% jump in quarterly profit on Friday, Morgan Stanley (MS.N) joined other big U.S. banks in posting first-quarter numbers reinforcing hopes of a swift economic recovery.