Stocks were initially buoyed after U.K. and European Union leaders announced a tentative agreement on Brexit, but the agreement still faces a significant hurdle in the U.K. Parliament with a debate and vote set for Saturday.
“We have a Brexit vote on Saturday and short-term money may not want to be long going into the weekend,” said Jim McDonald, chief investment strategist at Northern Trust, in a interview with MarketWatch.
Investors are also aware that Federal Reserve officials are meeting in two weeks and are expected to cut interest rates again, while debating whether they have done enough for now to vaccinate the economy against growing risks of a sharper slowdown.
Federal Reserve Vice Chairman Richard Clarida on Friday said the economy is facing “evident” risks, while inflation remains muted. The Fed has already cut interest rates twice this year “to provide a somewhat more accommodative policy in response to muted inflation pressures and the risks to the outlook,” he noted. Clarida’s comments represent the last public word from the Fed leadership ahead of the Oct. 29-30 meeting.
The IMF and World Bank host annual meetings of global finance chiefs in Washington D.C. Friday and Saturday.
<STRONG>Other stocks in focus</STRONG>
Coca-Cola /zigman2/quotes/209159848/composite KO +0.67% reported adjusted quarterly profit of 56 cents per share, in line with forecasts but revenue was higher than expected. Coca-Cola also reported organic sales growth of 5%, beating forecasts, and also raised its full-year guidance for revenue and operating income.
Schlumberger /zigman2/quotes/201012972/composite SLB +1.60% , the oil field services company beat forecasts by 3 cents with adjusted quarterly profit of 43 cents per share and revenue was above forecasts.
<STRONG>How did other markets perform?</STRONG>
U.S. Treasury yields were mostly lower on Friday as investors eyed developments on Brexit ahead of Parliament’s vote on the weekend. The 10-year Treasury note yield /zigman2/quotes/211347051/realtime BX:TMUBMUSD10Y 0.00% fell a basis points at 1.747%.
Oil futures finished lower on Friday, giving up earlier gains to build a loss for the week, as data showing slower Chinese economic growth fed worries about weaker demand for oil and a recent report revealed a fifth consecutive weekly rise in U.S. crude inventories. West Texas Intermediate crude for November delivery ended 15 cents lower, or 0.3%, at $53.78 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
Gold settled lower on Friday, failing to get a lift from a round of weak economic data out of China or a softer U.S. dollar, as bears look for the precious metal to continue its retreat from more-than-six-year highs set last month. Gold for December delivery on Comex closed down $4.20, or 0.3%, at $1,494.10 an ounce, according to FactSet data.
The ICE U.S. dollar index /zigman2/quotes/210598269/delayed DXY +0.65% fell 0.3% to 97.35 Friday, pressured by strength in sterling /zigman2/quotes/210561263/realtime/sampled GBPUSD +0.0077% and the euro /zigman2/quotes/210561242/realtime/sampled EURUSD +0.0170% after news of a new Brexit agreement this week.