AmEx boosts Dow as Nasdaq, S&P tumble on Netflix

Staff WritersReuters
American Express has kept the Dow afloat, while Netflix dragged down the rest of Wall St. (AP PHOTO)
Camera IconAmerican Express has kept the Dow afloat, while Netflix dragged down the rest of Wall St. (AP PHOTO) Credit: AP

The Nasdaq and the S&P 500 ended lower as Netflix shares weighed, but American Express kept the Dow afloat after quarterly earnings from both companies, while growing pessimism that the Federal Reserve would cut interest rates soon also dented sentiment.

Netflix slumped on Friday as one of the bigger drags on the benchmark S&P index and Nasdaq after the video streaming company's second-quarter revenue view fell short of analysts' expectations while the company also unexpectedly said it would no longer provide subscriber counts.

But the price-weighted Dow Industrials rose, thanks in part to a climb in American Express, after the payments company reported first-quarter profit that was above expectations.

Equities have struggled recently following a five-month rally that started in November, in part due to expectations the Fed was likely to cut interest rates in the first half of the year.

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But a recent string of hotter-than-expected inflation data, strong labour market data, geopolitical tensions in the Middle East that have sparked a rise in oil prices, and comments from Federal Reserve officials including Chair Jerome Powell has caused market participants to dial back the timing of any rate cut from the central bank.

"You've seen rate-cutting expectations just continue to come out of the market, and they should be because there's nothing about the data that says they should cut," said Mike Dickson, head of research and quantitative strategies at Horizon Investments in Charlotte, North Carolina.

"So in that environment when you're sitting here near highs, that means it's not going to be rates going down and multiples expanding because of that, that has to be driven by earnings growth. And so just the more the rate picture doesn't look super-favourable for lower rates, even more important is the earnings growth picture."

According to preliminary data, the S&P 500 lost 43.92 points, or 0.88 per cent, to end at 4,967.20 points, while the Nasdaq Composite lost 319.48 points, or 2.05 per cent, to 15,281.10. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 209.14 points, or 0.55 per cent, to 37,984.52.

The S&P and Nasdaq have fallen for six straight sessions, the longest streak of declines for each since October 2022.

Progress on bringing down inflation has "stalled" this year, said Chicago Fed President Austan Goolsbee, the latest US central banker to drop an earlier focus on the coming need for interest rate cuts.

Chip-related stocks, some of the best performers of the year thanks to their association with artificial intelligence, also tumbled, with the Philadelphia Semiconductor Index down about four per cent. The index recorded its biggest weekly percentage decline in nearly two years.

Each of the three major indexes were lower on the week, with the S&P suffering its biggest weekly decline since March 2023 and the Nasdaq its biggest since October 2022.

Shares of Paramount Global surged after a person familiar with the matter told Reuters that Sony Pictures Entertainment and Apollo Global Management are discussing making a joint bid for the company.

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