Stocks came off highs in the final hour of trading Friday after The New York Times and Washington Post each published new developments in the Trump-Russia saga.
The S&P 500 was up 0.67%, the Dow Jones Industrial Average increased 0.68%, and the Nasdaq grew 0.47%.
It is still too early to be trusting of this bounce, said James "Rev Shark" Deporre over on our premium site for investors, Real Money. Get his insights with a free trial subscription to Real Money.
A senior White House advisor close to the president is reportedly a person of interest in the investigation into the Trump campaign's possible collusion with Russia, The Post reported on Friday afternoon. The report also indicated that investigators are shifting into a "more overtly active phase" of discovery with the "intensity of the probe... expected to accelerate in the coming weeks."
A separate report from The New York Times, published nearly simultaneously, said Donald Trump told Russian officials last week that the former FBI Director James Comey was a "real nut job" and that firing him had relieved him of pressure over the investigation. The latest allegation cements the notion that Trump fired Comey to impede the Russia investigation, rather than the original justification over his handling of Hillary Clinton's emails.
On late Tuesday, a New York Times report found that Trump asked Comey to shut down the federal investigation into Flynn, according to Comey's memos. Flynn was forced to resign on Feb. 13 amid questions over his contact with the Russian ambassador and discussions of U.S. sanctions.
On Monday, news broke that Trump had divulged highly classified intelligence to Russia during a meeting last week, according to a report from The Washington Post. Trump reportedly shared top-secret information on the fight against ISIS with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak in a meeting in which U.S. media was barred. The meeting had also raised eyebrows because it occurred just a day after Trump fired Comey.
The latest developments come at an inopportune for Trump who just embarked on a nine-day international trip, his first trip abroad since assuming office. Trump will visit Saudi Arabia, the Vatican and Israel.
The revelations follow news Wednesday that the U.S. Department of Justice named former FBI Director Robert S. Mueller to head a probe into allegations that Russia interfered in last year's presidential elections and any ties between the Trump campaign and Moscow.
Crude oil prices moved higher on Friday, capping off a stellar week for commodities. Prices have rallied in recent days on high hopes of an extended production cut deal among some of the world's largest oil producers. The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries will meet on May 25 to determine whether to extend a deal to cap output.
U.S. producers brought 16 more rigs online in the past week, Baker Hughes reported Friday, bringing the Houston-based oilfield services provider's overall count up to 901 units.
West Texas Intermediate crude was up 2% to $50.33 a barrel on Friday.
Energy shares were among the best performers on Friday. Major oilers including Royal Dutch Shell (RDS.A) , Chevron (CVX) , Total (TOT) , BP (BP) , and Schlumberger (SLB) were higher on Friday, while the Energy Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLE) added 1.1%.
The Federal Reserve need not move interest rates higher, as widely expected, when members meet in June, St. Louis Fed President James Bullard said on Friday in one of the few dissenting remarks out from the central bank. "Financial market readings" since March "have moved in the opposite direction," Bullard said at Washington University in St. Louis. Bullard said the outlook for two more rate hikes this year may be "overly aggressive" given incoming data.
Gap (GPS) declined 4% despite surpassing analysts' estimates over its first quarter. Earnings of 36 cents a share rose from 32 cents in the year-ago quarter. Analysts anticipated earnings of 29 cents a share. Revenue held flat at $3.44 billion, but exceeded targets by $50 million. First-quarter same-store sales increased 2%.
Ross Stores (ROST) increased 2% after exceeding earnings and revenue estimates over its recent quarter. The retailer earned 82 cents a share, 2 cents above expectations. Sales rose just over 7% to $3.31 billion, $40 million higher than anticipated.
Salesforce.com (CRM) declined slightly even after a better-than-expected quarter and outlook. The cloud-software developer earned an adjusted 28 cents a share, 2 cents higher than consensus. Revenue climbed 24.5% to $2.39 billion, $40 million above expectations. The company also upped its full-year sales guidance to at least $10.25 billion, up from its previous range of $10.15 billion to $10.2 billion.
Foot Locker (FL) reported a decline in quarterly profit and meager growth in sales. The sports shoe retailer earned $1.36 a share, down 3 cents from a year earlier. Analysts anticipates earnings of $1.38. Sales increased 0.7% to $2 billion, falling short of estimates of $2.02 billion. Same-store sales increased 0.5%, well below a target of 1.4% growth. CEO Richard Johnson conceded that the quarter "did fall short of our original expectations." He blamed a slow start in February tied to a delay in income tax refunds.
Campbell Soup (CPB) earned 59 cents a share on an adjusted basis in the first quarter, below estimates of 64 cents. Revenue of $1.85 billion also came in below forecasts. The company raised its 2017 per-share earnings guidance but trimmed its sales forecast.
Deere & Co. (DE) reported fiscal second-quarter earnings of $2.49 a share, easily topping estimates of $1.63. Deere said it also expects fiscal 2017 profit to be about $2 billion, up from a previous $1.5 billion expectation. The stock gained 8%.