Index Declines Amid Concerns About Middle East Conflict


Key Takeaways

  • The S&P 500 fell 0.5% on Friday, Oct. 13, 2023, amid concerns about the escalation of the conflict in Israel and a drop in October consumer sentiment.
  • Dollar General brought back former CEO Todd Vasos to lead the discount retailer, and shares jumped.
  • The conflict in Israel and a spike in oil prices dragged down shares of cruise lines.

U.S. equities finished Friday mixed, with the S&P 500 down 0.5%, amid concerns about an escalation of the fighting in Israel and a new report showing that October consumer sentiment plunged. The war worries helped send oil futures spiking. Meanwhile, gold prices jumped and bond yields fell as investors looked to so-called “safe havens.”

Dollar General (DG) shares climbed 9.2% as the company’s board announced that former CEO Todd Vasos was returning to run the company in an effort to “restore stability and confidence” in the discount retailer.

Better-than-expected quarterly results lifted shares of JPMorgan Chase (JPM) and Wells Fargo (WFC) 1.6% and 3.1%, respectively.

UnitedHealth Group’s (UNH) earnings and revenue beat estimates as medical claim costs dropped, and its shares rose 2.6%.

Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings (NCLH) shares sank 4.1%, and shares of rival cruise lines also lost ground. The industry continues to cancel trips to and from Israel and Egypt because of the conflict between Israel and Hamas and also faces the possibility of higher fuel costs. Concerns about fuel expenses also pulled Old Dominion Freight Line (ODFL) shares down 4.5%.

Boeing (BA) shares declined 3.3% as the plane maker increased the number of inspections of its 737 Max passenger jets to look for a potential defect in a bulkhead.

Hormel Foods (HRL) shares dipped another 1.2% following a selloff the previous day prompted by the company’s updated three-year strategy and the vote by United Food and Commercial Workers union to approve a new contract.

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