Home / Business News / S&P 500 Posts 0.5% Weekly Gain, Led by Consumer Discretionary


The Standard & Poor’s 500 index rose 0.5% this week as gains across a number of sectors led by consumer discretionary and communication services outweighed declines in energy, industrials and technology.

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The market benchmark ended the week at 2,886.98, up from last week’s closing level of 2,873.34. This marks the measure’s second positive week in a row and puts the month-to-date gain for June at 4.9%. The index is up 15% for the year to date.

The weekly increase comes as investors continue to grow more hopeful for the Federal Reserve to cut interest rates following weaker recent readings on US employment.

The Labor Department reported Thursday that initial jobless claims for the week ended June 8 rose by 3,000 to a seasonally adjusted 222,000, which was more than the 216,000 expected by economists. This followed last Friday’s report of May employment data that showed the pace of hiring slowed in May, with nonfarm payrolls only going up by 75,000 when an increase of 180,000 had been expected.

The consumer-discretionary sector had the largest percentage rise of the week, up 2.4%, followed by a 1.4% increase in communication services. All other sectors also rose, with the exception of energy, industrials and technology, which slipped 0.5%, 0.4% and 0.2%, respectively.

The consumer-discretionary sector’s gainers included Amazon.com (AMZN), whose shares jumped 3.6% this week. The retailer announced the general availability of Amazon Personalize, which it said “enables developers to build applications with the same machine-learning technology used by Amazon.com for real-time personalized recommendations — with no machine-learning expertise required.” Amazon also unveiled an expansion with Wm Morrison Supermarkets of an “ultra-fast same day, online grocery home delivery service to many more cities across the UK.”

In communication services, Facebook (FB) was among the gainers, up 4.6% on the week as the social-network operator said more than 720 million people monthly and 140 million daily spend at least a minute on streaming service Facebook Watch. The company said it is expanding the content users can receive through global partnerships, original content and collaborations with artists. Also boosting the company’s shares, a Wall Street Journal report said Facebook’s (FB) cryptocurrency has gained backing from more than a dozen companies, including Visa (V), Mastercard (MA), PayPal (PYPL) and Uber (UBER).

On the downside, the energy sector’s decline came as crude-oil futures fell this week after the International Energy Agency projected slower-than-expected growth in demand in Q2, outweighing the impact on prices this week of attacks on two oil tankers in the Strait of Hormuz. Among the decliners, Cabot Oil & Gas (COG) shares fell 6.5% this week while Helmerich & Payne (HP) slipped 6.7%.

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