U.S. Stocks Extend Weekly Gains

Despite the volatility in the oil and gold markets, the major U.S. indices extended their weekly gains from last week. Beating earnings by the major banks boosted investor sentiments, thus driving interest in bank and financial stocks. Nevertheless, the Dow, S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite were all off in Friday’s trading, thanks in part to fading expectations that the OPEC meeting in Doha would reach a positive deal.

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The major indices

The Dow Jones Industrial Average shed 28.97 points or 0.2% Friday to close the day at 17,897.46. Nevertheless, the blue-chip index was up 1.8% for the week. The S&P 500 lost 2.05 points or 0.1% to conclude the day at 2,080.73. But the index still finished up 1.6%.

The Nasdaq Composite Index fell 7.67 points or 0.2% to close the day at 4,938.22. The index was still up 1.8% from the previous week.

With that, all the major indices were able to extend their weekly gains despite the Friday pullback.

Doused expectations

The U.S. crude declined $1.14 to $40.36 per barrel in New York as Brent crude, the international benchmark, fell 74 cents to $43.10 per barrel in London. The fall in crude oil prices undermined the skepticism that OPEC members meeting in Doha, Qatar wouldn’t reach a favorable deal. They didn’t as the meeting ended without the OPEC members agreeing to adjust their production polices to help lift the price of oil and ETF’s like iPath S&P GSCI Crude Oil Total Return (NYSEARCA:OIL). Iran has particularly been uncooperative and it also refused to attend the Doha meeting.

As oil prices tumbled over uncertainty of the Doha oil meeting, oil companies such as Occidental Petroleum Corporation (NYSE:OXY) and EOG Resources Inc (NYSE:EOG) fell in Friday’s trading.

Hunt for dividends lifts utilities

Utility companies gained in Friday’s trading, a sign that investors were willing to bet on traditional dividend payers. NextEra Energy Inc (NYSE:NEE) and Edison International (NYSE:EIX) were among the utilities that posted gains. Utilities typically pay attractive dividends.

Gold gains lift mining stocks

Gold added $8.10 to $1,234.60 per ounce and silver gained $0.14 to $16.31 per ounce. The gains lifted metal and mining companies with Freeport-McMoRan Inc (NYSE:FCX) edging up 1.2% to $10.86 and Newmont Mining Corp (NYSE:NEM) rising 2.4% to $29.37.

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