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The stock market was modestly higher in late trading Friday, as some sectors that struggled earlier in the week were rebounding.
The Nasdaq and the S&P 500 were up 0.2% and near session highs. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 0.1% as IBM‘s (IBM) gap down to a nearly 3% loss hurt the average.
Small caps, which had lagged earlier in the week, fared better with a 0.3% increase for the Russell 2000. The Dow utilities led with a 0.5% gain as the sector continues to show resilience, if not market leadership.
Volume was tracking lower across the board. Breadth was strong on the NYSE, with winners topping losers by 2-to-1 on the NYSE, but the ratio was almost even on the Nasdaq. That was another factor that could be traced to the strength in materials and cyclicals today.
Several industry groups that had slumped earlier in the week were among the leaders of today’s trading. Those included fiber-optic, energy, automaker and fertilizer stocks. Oil stocks climbed as the price of crude rose more than 1% to just above $46 a barrel. Metals also rebounded. The rally in materials gave the NYSE composite index one of the best performances, up 0.5%.
A 17% surge in Applied Optoelectronics (AAOI) helped the fiber-optics group to the day’s top of the industries table. Late Thursday, Applied exceeded quarterly expectations and forecast current-quarter sales above estimates.
Restaurants continue to be among the most-traded stocks. Ruth’s Hospitality Group (RUTH) surged 6% in heavy volume, as the stock found support at the 50-day moving average. Shares were 8% above the 50-day line at midday, which leaves the stock extended for purchase. Ruth’s reported early Friday a first-quarter profit of 35 cents a share, topping expectations. Sales increased 4% to $105.5 million, slightly below estimates. Ruth’s is on the thinly traded side, turning less than 300,000 shares daily.
Impinj (PI) broke out in heavy volume after the chip company beat first-quarter profit expectations. The stock surged 13%, clearing the 40.10 buy point of a handle. Impinj reported an adjusted profit of a penny a share, better than the consensus estimate of a slight loss for the quarter. Revenue at the maker of radio frequency identification products was $31.7 million, an increase of 47%.
Owens Corning (OC) briefly climbed past the 62.89 buy point of a base-on-base pattern. Shares slipped below the entry at midday, although trading remained quite active.
The maker of roofing, insulation and other home-construction products announced that it had settled litigation with TopBuild (BLD) over a contract dispute. Owens agreed to sell residential insulation to TopBuild and its subsidiaries, while TopBuild will pay Owens Corning $30 million. Separately, Moody’s upgraded Owens’ credit rating outlook to positive from stable.
Air Lease (AL) slid 5% in heavy trading after the aircraft leasing firm’s Q1 earnings and sales missed expectations. The stock continued to work on a base, but much of it is below the 50-day line.