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Wall Street powers higher on J&J, Big Tech boost

U.S. stock indexes rose on Friday, as Johnson & Johnson and big technology and communication stocks led gains at the end of a week scarred by deepening concerns over prolonged inflation.

Johnson & Johnson rose 1.4% after saying it planned to break up into two companies focused on its consumer health business and the large pharmaceuticals unit.

Shares of mega-cap growth stocks including Google-owner Alphabet Inc, Microsoft Corp, Meta Platforms Inc, formerly known as Facebook, Apple Inc and Amazon.com gained between 1.3% and 4.2%.

The Philadelphia SE Semiconductor index rose for a second straight day to add 1.2%, while the economically-sensitive Dow Jones Transport Average index firmed 1.0%.

But Tesla Inc slid 3.5% after top boss Elon Musk sold another block of company shares worth about $700 million after offloading about $5 billion worth of stock following a Twitter poll.

Wall Street’s main indexes were set for weekly declines, their first since the turn of October, as hot U.S. inflation readings sapped investor sentiment and halted an earnings-driven streak of record closing highs.

“I think that there’s still the view in markets that this (rising inflation) is largely still a transitory type of situation,” said Matt Stucky, senior portfolio manager at Northwestern Mutual Wealth Management in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

“But that being said, it’s still a risk factor and it’s impacting the consumer as we saw a pretty significantly weak print in the University of Michigan consumer sentiment index.”

The University of Michigan’s survey showed U.S. consumer sentiment plunged in early November to the lowest level in a decade.

At 12:02 p.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 181.73 points, or 0.51%, at 36,102.96, the S&P 500 was up 32.56 points, or 0.70%, at 4,681.83 and the Nasdaq Composite was up 138.69 points, or 0.88%, at 15,842.97.

Small-caps retreated on Friday after gains of 0.8% in the previous session.

U.S.-listed shares of Alibaba Group Holding fell 0.8% after the e-commerce giant said its sales during the Singles Day event grew at the slowest rate ever, underscoring the headwinds for China’s tech firms.

Biogen Inc rose 1.3% after late-stage studies found its Alzheimer’s drug Aduhelm significantly lowered blood levels of an abnormal form of the protein tau that accumulates in the brains of people with the disease.

With about 459 companies having reported, S&P 500 earnings are expected to have jumped 41.5% in the third quarter from a year earlier, Refinitiv IBES data showed.

Reuters reported earlier in the day that President Joe Biden and Chinese leader Xi Jinping are expected to hold a virtual summit on Monday amid tensions over trade, human rights and military activities.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners by a 1.39-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and a 1.02-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq. The S&P index recorded 29 new 52-week highs and one new low, while the Nasdaq recorded 102 new highs and 71 new lows.

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