By DONALD H. GOLD, INVESTOR’S BUSINESS DAILY
Amid good news and bad news from the economy Friday, stocks teeter-tottered to end barely changed for the day. But the indexes are still standing at their highest in years.
The S&P 500 edged up 0.1%, while the Nasdaq ceded a fraction and the Dow Jones industrial average fell 0.2%. Volume increased on the Nasdaq and the NYSE, according to preliminary data.
Consumer prices — excluding food and energy costs — edged up 0.1% in February, the government reported. That’s not nearly enough to worry about an early start to the Fed’s rate-hiking cycle. But consumer sentiment and industrial production provided the bad news — or maybe good news, if you think it will keep the Fed priming the pump.
Apple (AAPL) ended about flat after moving both ways during the session. But the stock put in its fourth-straight day of high volume.
InvenSense (INVN) started higher, logging a new high, but reversed lower and fell 4% for the day in fast trade. The maker of motion-sensing chips and software has been rebounding in strong trade from its 50-day moving average. Even with Friday’s drop, the stock is not near a comfortable buy point.
Shuffle Master (SHFL), which makes electronic table games and shufflers for casinos, climbed 3% to a new high. It’s well extended.
Exercise apparel retailer Lululemon Athletica (LULU), an IBD Leaderboard stock, fell 3% in barely above-average trade, erasing Thursday’s gain. The stock is extended from a 67.32 entry from a four-weeks-tight pattern.
Coal stocks led the energy sector. Patriot Coal (PCX) jumped 9%, and Peabody Energy (BTU) and Alpha Natural Resources (ANR) each rose 4%. But these are all damaged stocks, with single-digit Relative Price Strength Ratings. Coal is at the bottom among the 197 industries tracked by IBD, as of Friday’s edition.