Stocks across the board took a beating Friday, but not all of Wall Street was painted red.
Drug stocks emerged as a sturdy safe haven Friday as investors were spooked elsewhere by concerns over inflation, dwindling consumer confidence and a softening economy. In the face of a 2% slide in both the
, most major drug stocks rose about 1%.
Some of the biggest gainers in the sector were
, up $1.58, or 3.28%, to $49.87;
, up 26 cents, or 1%, to $27.75; and
, up 96 cents, or 2.24%, to $43.41.
When most other sectors of the market are falling, big drug stocks often are seen as safe havens. That's because sales of drugs will weather a downturn in spending, since medicine is one item most consumers can't live without.
More surprisingly, financial stocks didn't get hammered. While the
Philadelphia KBW Bank Index
also fell Friday, the decline was less than 1%.
A number of bank stocks ended the day in the green, most notably
, each of which reported better-than-expected first-quarter earnings. Of the three bank stocks, Regions posted the most impressive gains, rising $1.01, or 3.2%, to $28.74.
Citigroup's earnings, which rose 3% compared with a year ago, could be a particular beacon of hope. Profits at the world's biggest financial services firm rose on the strength of Citigroup's global consumer business. That consumers continued to use their credit cards and borrow money in the first quarter could ease some of the concern created by declining consumer sentiment gauges.
But financials will be put to the test next week when the bulk of the nation's banks report earnings. Next up is
Bank of America
, the nation's third-largest lender, which reports earnings on Monday.
J.P Morgan Chase
, the nation's No. 2 bank, reports on Wednesday.
Next week also sees first-quarter earnings reports from several brokerages, including
If the banks and brokers don't disappoint, they could help stabilize the broader market.