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US Stocks Close Mixed; S&P 500 Rises   09/24 16:04

   Wall street closed out a choppy week of trading Friday with a mixed finish 
for the major stock indexes, though the S&P 500 managed its first weekly gain 
in three weeks.

   (AP) -- Wall street closed out a choppy week of trading Friday with a mixed 
finish for the major stock indexes, though the S&P 500 managed its first weekly 
gain in three weeks.

   The benchmark index rose 0.1% after spending much of the day wavering 
between small gains and losses. The Dow Jones Industrial Average also eked out 
a 0.1% gain, while the Nasdaq composite and the Russell 2000 index of 
small-company stocks fell.

   Slightly more stocks in the S&P 500 rose than fell, with communication 
services companies and banks driving much of the increase. Health care and real 
estate stocks posted some of the biggest losses. The index ended with a 0.5% 
gain for the week.

   The modest showing followed a two-day rally that helped erase a slump 
earlier in the week. Investors have been facing similar choppiness throughout 
September as they try to gauge how the economy will continue its recovery.

   "The market today was sort of catching its breath after the sharp slump in 
the first two days of the week and the sharp advance in the second two days of 
the week," said Sam Stovall, chief investment strategist at CFRA.

   The S&P 500 rose 6.50 points to 4,455.48 and is now within 1.9% of the 
all-time high it set Sept. 2. The Dow added 33.18 points to 34,798. The Nasdaq 
slipped 4.54 points, or less than 0.1%, to 15,047.70, while the Russell 2000 
dropped 10.97 points, or 0.5%, to 2,248.07.

   Markets have had a rough September and investors could be in for more 
choppiness as they work through a mix of concerns, including COVID-19 and its 
lingering impact on the economy, along with a slow recovery for the employment 
market.

   Traders did receive some clarity from the Federal Reserve this week. After 
its two-day policy meeting concluded Wednesday, the central bank said it will 
likely begin tapering the pace of its monthly bond purchases soon, but not 
before November, if the economy keeps improving. The Fed and other central 
banks have been buying bonds throughout the pandemic to help keep long-term 
interest rates low.

   Bond yields have been headed higher the last couple of days following the 
Fed's announcement. The yield on the 10-year Treasury rose to 1.46% Friday from 
1.41% the day before. The yield, which influences interest rates on mortgages 
and other consumer loans, was at 1.31% late Monday.

   "It could simply be that we had yields come down Monday and Tuesday in a 
flight to safety that is now being unwound," Stovall said. "At the same time, 
bond investors have been given the clue, if you will, by the Fed, that tapering 
is right around the corner."

   Energy prices rose again Friday. The price of benchmark U.S. crude oil 
increased 0.9% and ended 2.9% higher for the week. The trend helped push up 
energy stocks. Cabot Oil & Gas rose 2.8%.

   Nike was the latest company to warn investors about supply chain problems 
hurting revenue. Its stock slumped 6.3% for the biggest drop in the S&P 500. A 
wide range of industries face supply chain issues and that has investors 
worried about rising costs for businesses and consumers. Analysts have warned 
that the upcoming round of corporate earnings could be crimped because of those 
issues.

   Worries over troubled Chinese real estate developer Evergrande are also 
weighing on sentiment. Some Chinese banks on Friday disclosed what they are 
owed by Evergrande, seeking to dispel fears of financial turmoil as it 
struggles under $310 billion in debt. Evergrande has said it negotiated details 
of an interest payment due Thursday to banks and other bondholders in China but 
gave no details. The company has yet to say whether it will make an $83.5 
million payment that was due Thursday on a bond abroad.

   Markets in Europe fell and markets in Asia were mostly lower, though Japan's 
Nikkei 225 rose 2.1%.

   Cryptocurrencies fell after China's central bank declared all transactions 
involving virtual currencies illegal as it stepped up a campaign to block use 
of unofficial digital money. Bitcoin fell 4.8% to $42,525.48, according to 
Coindesk. Chipmaker Nvidia, which makes processors needed in crypto-mining, 
fell 1.8%.

 
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