Stocks turned in a decent performance Friday despite a couple of early negative headlines, including another North Korea missile launch over Japan and weaker than expected August retail sales data.
XAutoplay: On | OffSemiconductor stocks did well again, helping lift the Nasdaq composite to a 0.3% gain. The Dow Jones industrial average also added 0.3% and the S&P 500 picked up 0.2%. Small caps outperformed with the Russell 2000 up around 0.4%. Options expired Friday, resulting in unusually heavy volume on both exchanges.
For the week, the Dow led the way, rising 2.2%; the S&P 500 added 1.6% and the Nasdaq rose 1.4%.
In the stock market today, airlines lagged after JPMorgan downgraded shares of American Airlines (AAL) and United Continental (UAL) to neutral from overweight, citing rising fuel costs and low domestic prices. American eased 0.4% while UAL gave back more than 2%.
JPMorgan was positive on Southwest Airlines (LUV), giving it an outperform rating and raising its price target to 66 from 60. Shares of Southwest rose 0.7% to 54.72.
Oracle (ORCL) didn’t have a good day despite reporting another solid quarter late Thursday. Shares slumped nearly 8% to 48.74. Earnings topped expectations and sales growth accelerated for the third straight quarter. Cloud revenue jumped 51% to $1.5 billion, but Oracle projected cloud revenue growth of 39% to 43% for the current quarter, below the consensus estimate of 48% growth.
Inside the IBD 50, Nvidia (NVDA) was a big gainer, rising 6% to 180.11 after Evercore ISI lifted its price target significantly to 250 from 180, saying the company has first mover advantage in the artificial intelligence space.
IBD’S TAKE: Nvidia is one of several top-performing chip names. For a look at the other leaders in Nvidia’s industry group, consult IBD Stock Checkup.
Nvidia is still in buy range after a breakout from a late-stage base with a 174.76 buy point. Buyer beware, though, because shares have nearly tripled over the past 12 months.
Staying in the chip space, Ultra Clean Holdings (UCTT) gained ground for the third straight session, rising 4% to 26.96. It’s still in buy range from a 26.30 entry.
First Solar (FSLR) also had a good day. Shares rose 4% to 50.45, good enough for a breakout from a flat base with a 50.31 buy point. Shares were strong after Deutsche Bank made positive comments and lifted its price target to 65 from 50, citing a favorable regulatory environment.
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