Stock Market Today: Stocks End Wild Week With a Loss

Stocks closed lower Friday, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average falling 1.3% to 29,634, the S&P 500 Index shedding 2.4% to 3,583, and the Nasdaq Composite surrendering 3.1% to 10,321.

Today’s decline had the major market indexes paring the gains earned in Thursday’s whipsaw session, and secured weekly losses for the Nasdaq (-3.1%) and S&P 500 (-1.5%). The Dow, on the other hand, finished with a weekly advance of 1.2%.

Stocks started the day higher, but turned south after the University of Michigan consumer sentiment index edged up to 59.8 in October from September’s reading of 58.6 – continuing its rise off the all-time low reading near 50.0 from June.

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“Consumer sentiment rose in early October as views of current conditions improved,” says Tim Quinlan, senior economist at Wells Fargo Securities. “Inflation expectations continue to be the key component of this release, and though both short- and long-term expectations rose, importantly long-term expectations remain at a level the Fed will still consider well-anchored.”

Time to Buy Bank Stocks?

Bank earnings were another area of focus for investors today. Major financial firms JPMorgan Chase (JPM (opens in new tab), +1.7%), Citigroup (C (opens in new tab), +0.7%) and Wells Fargo (WFC (opens in new tab), +1.9%) headlined this morning’s earnings calendar – marking the start of what’s expected to be a dreary earnings season

Results from three of the country’s largest banks largely beat expectations, and the stocks responded in kind.

Additionally, JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon “made several comments regarding the bank’s ability to manage capital expressing confidence that any negative impacts in the macro environment, risk-weighted asset levels, or AOCI can be easily handled by the current capital levels and earnings power of the company,” says David Wagner, portfolio manager at Aptus Capital Advisors. “We saw the underwriting standards were not really loosened earlier so no ‘tightening’ is needed or being performed at this time, which is a great component of this high-quality bank.”

As for Citigroup, “a lower cost of capital and net investment income is the microcosm for the beat in our opinion,” Wagner adds.

Given this strength on and off the charts, many investors may be wondering if it’s time to buy beaten-down bank stocks? Here, we take a look at what analysts are saying about JPM, C and WFC.

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