Stocks were generally unchanged last week, with the S&P 500 finishing up 0.12% to 2,297 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average closing down 0.11% to 20,071. The Ten-year yield rose to 2.49%, while the US Dollar Index declined for a sixth straight week to 99.76.
Investors focused on a slew of earnings, economic data, and new government policies throughout the week. Starting with earnings, the trend is one of steady overall improvement, with growth on track to reach its highest level in two years, according to Zacks Research. About half of S&P 500 companies have reported so far, with total earnings up +5.4% and revenue up +3.5%. 64.8% have beat EPS and 53.4% have beet revenue. 37.4% have beat both top and bottom.
Specifically, Exxon Mobil (XOM) reported in-line revenue results for the quarter and earnings that were up $528 million y/y to $1.4 billion, excluding an impairment charge. In technology, Facebook (FB) and Visa (V) both beat top and bottom estimates, however, FB's results were not strong enough to entice investors to pay a higher price for the stock, as opposed to V, which broke out to a new all-time high.
A number of US Economic data points were of interest to investors, including Personal Income and Outlays. Personal Income rose a moderate 0.3% in December with wages and salary gaining a slightly better 0.4%. Inflation data continued to slowly trend higher as core PCE inched up 0.1% to a y/y rate of 1.7%. Other data comprised of Consumer Confidence and the Employment Situation. Consumer Confidence remained strong at 111.8 for January, but had a less upbeat outlook, with confidence in income prospects lower. Payroll growth in January exceeded expectation, rising 227,000 for the best month since July. The unemployment rate rose 0.1 point to 4.8%.
Finally, new government policies moved markets, including executive orders related to immigration and bank regulation. While immigration policy shook some investor confidence early in the week, the idea of less regulation on banks pushed stocks higher on Friday, for an all-in-all flat week.