The stock exchanges in New York stayed close to home on Friday. Striking were the sharp fall in prices of cigarette makers, following the US government’s announcement that the nicotine content in cigarettes should be reduced so that they are no longer addictive. In addition, investors responded to figures about the US economy and consumer confidence.
The leading Dow-Jones index concluded a gain of 0.2 percent at 21,830.31 points. The broad S & P 500 lost 0.1 percent to 2472.10 points. Technology degree meter Nasdaq also lost 0.1 percent to 6374.68 points.
Altria, known for cigarette brands like Marlboro and L & M, lost nearly 10 percent of stock market value after the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announcement. The share of British American Tobacco lost more than 7 percent in New York, where it had already lost nearly 7 percent in London.
Web Store and Technology giant Amazon saw 2.5 percent of its stock market evaporate after disappointing figures. The group’s profit fell 77 percent in the second quarter, mainly due to higher expenses. Oil company ExxonMobil lost 1.5 percent after earnings report, while Chevron increased 1.9 percent.
“What you’re seeing here is a market that’s being driven largely by earnings,” said Matthew Peterson, chief wealth strategist at LPL Financial. “It’s not surprising to see investors take profits on some bad news.”
The results of toy manufacturer Mattel (minus 8 percent) and Starbucks coffee chain (minus 9 percent) clearly fell out of order. Pharma giant Merck beat earnings thanks to its cancer drug Keytruda, oil service provider Baker Hughes met expectations. Chip manufacturer Intel, Pharmaceutical AbbVie (minus 1.8 percent) and airline American Airlines (plus 1 percent) are also out with quarterly results.
Furthermore, the sentiment was under pressure by a new opposition to President Donald Trump who saw a detailed plan to dismantle parts of the American health insurance Obamacare in the Senate. The defeat seems to worsen the uncertainty about the feasibility of Trump’s political plans in the markets.
Healthcare companies like UnitedHealth Group and HCA were just up to 1.2 percent higher. Acadia Healthcare even made a head start of almost 8 percent.