Household goods makers lead stocks as G-7 summit begins

NEW YORK — U.S. stocks are higher Friday afternoon after small losses the day before. Household goods makers and health care companies are rising, but energy companies are slipping. Investors have treaded cautiously over the last two days ahead of the Group of Seven summit, which started Friday. Leaders from Canada and France say they will confront U.S. President Donald Trump over tariffs he is imposing.

KEEPING SCORE: The S&P 500 index added 7 points, or 0.3 per cent, to 2,777 as of 2:45 p.m. Eastern time. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 57 points, or 0.2 per cent, to 25,298 after a small gain on Thursday. The Nasdaq composite gained 14 points, or 0.2 per cent, to 7,649.

The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks advanced 5 points, or 0.3 per cent, to 1,673. Smaller and more U.S.-focused stocks like those on the Russell have fared better than the rest of the market in recent months as investors react to concerns about international trade. The Russell is up 9 per cent this year and the S&P 500 is up 3.9 per cent.

GROUP OF SEVEN: Leaders from the Group of Seven wealthy industrialized nations are meeting in Canada, where Trump’s new tariffs on are expected to be a major focus. The White House is expecting a chilly reception from Canada and western European countries. The leaders of France and Canada in particular on Thursday expressed in tough terms their disapproval of the tariffs. Trump is expected to leave the summit before it officially concludes as he heads to Singapore ahead ofhis meeting with Kim Jong Un of North Korea.

THE QUOTE: Investors don’t expect much progress on trade deals at the meeting, according to Scott Wren, senior global equity strategist for the Wells Fargo Investment Institute. But he said the outcome of the contentious trade talks between the U.S., China and others might be different from what Wall Street expects.

“The end result probably is going to be lower tariffs across the board,” he said. While new tariffs are likely to be announced in the coming weeks and months, Wren said the negotiations could ultimately result in a lot of older tariffs on U.S. imports and exports being reduced or eliminated.

ROAD TO RECOVERY: Consumer products makers, which have struggled for the last few months, rose for the second day in a row. Monster Beverage climbed 4.8 per cent to $55.37 after its annual shareholder meeting. Stifel analyst Mark Astrachan said the company’s sales growth is solid. He said the company plans to raise its U.S. prices later this year in response to higher aluminum prices following the tariffs.

Elsewhere, Tide maker Procter & Gamble gained 1.6 per cent to $77. Cigarette maker Philip Morris International rose 2.4 per cent to $79.26 after it raised its quarterly dividend, while Reuters said the company plans to start selling its tobacco-heating Iqos device in India, the second-most populous country in the world.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude slid 0.3 per cent to $65.74 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, fell 0.6 per cent to $76.82 per barrel in London.

Wholesale gasoline stayed at $2.12 a gallon. Heating oil shed 0.7 per cent to $2.16 a gallon. Natural gas fell 1.4 per cent to $2.89 per 1,000 cubic feet.

Energy companies followed suit. Halliburton slumped 2.4 per cent to $47.74 and Noble Energy lost 2.6 per cent to $33.93.

THE WEEK AHEAD: Wall Street will be focused on central banks even more than usual next week as the European Central Bank and Federal Reserve both hold major meetings. Investors are nearly certain the Fed will raise interest rates for the second time this year, out of three the Fed says it’s planning. If the Fed hints it’s considering a fourth increase later in the year, it might jolt the stock market.

“Any more than three hikes this year is a headwind for equities,” said Wren.

He added that the ECB will probably start to pare back its economic stimulus moves even though the European economy slowed in the first quarter.

EARNINGS: Online clothing retailer Stitch Fix jumped 20 per cent to $23.60 after it beat Wall Street’s expectations in its fiscal third quarter.

FUNTIME: Toymaker Funko continued to rally, climbing 6.1 per cent to $11.99. The stock went public in November at $12 a share, but fell 50 per cent through the end of 2017. It’s up 80 per cent this year.

BONDS: Bond prices were little changed. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note remained at 2.93 per cent.

METALS: Gold was little changed at $1,302.70 an ounce. Silver declined 0.4 per cent to $16.74 an ounce. Copper rose 0.8 per cent to $3.30 a pound, its highest price this year.

CURRENCIES: The dollar dipped to 109.50 yen from 109.71 yen. The euro fell to $1.1769 from $1.1809.

OVERSEAS: Germany’s DAX was down 0.3 per cent and so was the FTSE 100 index in Britain. The CAC 40 in France rose less than 0.1 per cent. Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 shed 0.6 per cent and South Korea’s Kospi lost 0.8 per cent. In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng slipped 1.9 per cent.

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