Wall Street ticks up; S&P 500 nets 3rd straight weekly gain

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Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved

A currency trader wearing a face mask watches computer monitors near the screens showing the foreign exchange rate between U.S. dollar and South Korean won at the foreign exchange dealing room in Seoul, South Korea, Friday, July 17, 2020. Asian stock markets rebounded Friday after Wall Street closed lower amid uncertainty about the U.S. economic outlook. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)

BEIJING – Wall Street ticked higher Friday to close out its third straight winning week, one punctuated by hopes that the economy can continue to steady itself despite the pandemic.

The S&P 500 rose 9.16 points, or 0.3%, to 3,224.73 after yet another day of wobbly trading. The Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped 62.76, or 0.2%, to 26,671.95, while the Nasdaq composite added 29.36, or 0.3%, to 10,503.19. Most stocks across the market rose.

Trading was muted across other markets, too, with stocks overseas, oil and gold making relatively modest moves. Even China’s market held steady: Stocks in Shanghai inched up 0.1% following a run earlier this month where their average daily move was more than 2%.

Friday’s meandering trading came after reports showed a strengthening in U.S. home building activity but also a weakening in consumer sentiment. They’re the latest in a stream of data that has shown how uncertain the path is for the economy, as the continuing rise in coronavirus counts threatens to undo improvements that seemed to have taken root in the economy.

“The market just continues to try and get its finger on the pulse,” said James McCann, senior global economist at Aberdeen Standard Investments.

“The renewed spread of the virus and degree of community infection means the pace of recovery we’ve had is just not going to be able to hold up anymore,” he said. “A fairly decent chunk of U.S. activity is at risk.”

Amid the uncertainty, though, nearly three in five stocks rose within the S&P 500.

Hope that Congress can agree soon on more aid for the economy helped to support the market, said Rob Haworth, senior investment strategist at U.S. Bank Wealth Management. A weekly $600 in extra benefits for laid-off workers from the federal government is about to end, unless Washington acts.