Stocks were on track to close at fresh records on Friday as the health care sector made a comeback after a bruising week.
The S&P 500 was up 0.52%, the Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 0.62%, and the Nasdaq added 0.4%. The Dow was trading just 1.7% from its psychologically important and never-before-seen 20,000 level. It's on track to rise for a fifth straight week.
Health care stocks were the best performers on markets Friday, led by large-cap names including Biogen (BIIB) , Pfizer (PFE) , Celgene (CELG) and Amgen (AMGN) . Drugmakers were hit hard earlier in the week after President-elect Donald Trump suggested he would target high prices in the industry. The Health Care Select SPDR ETF (XLV) added more than 1% on Friday, while the iShares NASDAQ Biotechnology Index ETF (IBB) rose 0.9%.
Wall Street bagged new records on Thursday as a broad rally in equities resumed. Thursday's close marked the fourth record close in a row for the Dow and the S&P 500's second. The Nasdaq also scored a record high. The Dow has closed at records 13 times since Election Day. The blue-chip index has crept to new records in the past few weeks as investors bet that President-elect Donald Trump's Cabinet picks would herald Wall Street-friendly moves.
Crude oil moved higher on Friday ahead of a weekend meeting among major oil-producing countries to strike an output cap deal. Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and non-OPEC countries will meet on Saturday in Vienna to discuss collaboration in a deal OPEC agreed to at the end of November. Non-OPEC members expected to be involved include Sudan, Russia, Azerbaijan, and Mexico. OPEC agreed to cut production by 1.2 million barrels a day and hopes non-OPEC members will agree to contribute a further cut of 600,000 barrels a day.
"Apart from Russia, which is a special case, we believe that it would be very difficult to differentiate between cut agreements and natural decline rates already expected in our base case outlook for 2017 for the majority of the countries mooted to be invited," JBC Energy analysts wrote in a note. "In short, we do not expect the outcome of this meeting to play a significant role in rebalancing the oil market."
Crude held at highs after another increase in drilling activity in the U.S. The number of active oil rigs in the U.S. climbed by 21 to 498, according to Baker Hughes data.
West Texas Intermediate crude was up 1.3% to $51.50 a barrel on Friday.
Consumer confidence improved in early December as the U.S. economy continued to recover and Wall Street held at highs. Sentiment increased to 98 from 93.8, far higher than an anticipated increase to 94.1.
Coca-Cola (KO) announced CEO Muhtar Kent would be stepping down May 1. He will remain chairman. James Quincey, president and chief operating officer, will take over as CEO of the giant beverage company. The stock rose 1.1%.
American Airlines (AAL) rose after it said it expects fourth-quarter total revenue per available seat mile to range between negative 1% and positive 1%, which is ahead of prior guidance of between negative 2.5% and negative 0.5%. Industry peers including United Continental (UAL) and JetBlue (JBLU) also moved higher.
Restoration Hardware (RH) tumbled 19% after lowering its full-year outlook on sluggish holiday sales. The furniture retailer anticipates full-year adjusted earnings of $1.19 to $1.29 a share, down from its previous target of $1.60 to $1.80. Restoration Hardware earned an adjusted 20 cents a share in its third quarter, 4 cents higher than forecast.
Broadcom (AVGO) climbed more than 4% after providing an upbeat outlook for its current quarter. The tech company anticipates revenue of $4.075 billion with a $75 million leeway on either side. Analysts had anticipated current-quarter sales of $3.96 billion.
Twenty-First Century Fox (FOXA) sank 3% after reaching a preliminary deal to buy Sky for 11.2 billion British pounds, or $14.1 billion. Fox magnate Rupert Murdoch and his family already holds a 39% stake in the European cable-TV company.
Vail Resorts (MTN) moved lower after a weaker recent quarter tied to warmer November weather. Season pass sales climbed around 20% through to December 4 from the same period a year earlier. The ski resort company reported a loss of $1.70 a share over the recent quarter compared to a loss of $1.63 a share in the year-ago quarter.
Time Inc. (TIME) was stable after surging more than 7% in afternoon trading on Thursday. The magazine publisher rallied on reports it is open to takeover offers. The company has reportedly brought Morgan Stanley and Bank of America on board to assess bids.
Casino stocks, including Wynn Resorts (WYNN) and Las Vegas Sands (LVS) , were rebounded after slumping late Thursday afternoon. The sector had been under pressure on Thursday on reports Beijing regulators would crack down on ATM withdrawals in key gambling location Macau. Macau authorities denied the reports.
Royal Caribbean Cruises (RCL) announced Friday that its cruise ship Empress of the Seas would make its first trip to Cuba in April. Empress will embark on a five-night voyage from Miami to Cuba before heading to Havana.
Autodesk (ADSK) was upgraded to buy from hold at Canaccord Genuity The company had an upbeat analyst day and can materially grow free cash flow in the next several quarters, Canaccord said.
AstraZeneca (AZN) was upgraded to outperform from market perform at Leerink Partners. Analysts said the pullback has created a buying opportunity and the company is the top pick in the sector for 2017.