The Standard & Poor’s 500 index rose 1.4% this week as telecommunications and materials stocks led a broad climb that only excluded the health-care sector.
The major market measure closed Friday’s session at 2,213.35, up from 2,181.90 a week ago. This week’s gains came in only about three and a half days versus the usual five-day week, as the market was closed all day Thursday for Thanksgiving, and closed three hours earlier than usual on Friday.
The telecommunications sector posted the biggest percentage gain of the week, up 4.6%. The category has been on the rise in recent weeks as it is expected to benefit from a likely deregulatory push in the US by president-elect Donald Trump’s administration.
Among the telecommunication sector’s gainers this week, AT&T (T) shares rose 4.4%. Among the telecom company’s highlights of the week, it and 21st Century Fox (FOX, FOXA) reached an agreement to extend the reach of Fox Networks Group programming across AT&T’s DIRECTV products, including AT&T’s new DIRECTV Now streaming service. Separately, AT&T, DISH Network Corp.’s (DISH) DISH Network LLC, and WPP (WPPGY) agreed to acquire INVIDI Technologies, a provider of addressable advertising platforms, with AT&T holding a controlling interest in the venture.
The materials and energy sectors also climbed this week, boosted by related commodities. In the materials sector, copper prices hit a 16-month high in New York and a 17-month high in London this week on bullish expectations for manufacturing spending under the Trump administration. The sector’s advancers included miner Freeport-McMoRan (FCX) with a weekly gain of nearly 17%; and stone, sand and gravel supplier Martin Marietta Materials (MLM) with a weekly climb of 2.6%. Freeport-McMoRan’s gain also came as the company completed a $1.5 billion at-the-market equity offering.
In the energy sector, natural gas hit a three-week high this week as storage data showed an unexpected decline from record-high inventories. Forecasts for cooler temperatures also helped lift natural-gas prices after warmer-than-average weather in recent weeks had weighed on demand expectations. The energy sector’s gainers included Southwestern Energy (SWN), up 8.8% on the week; Range Resources (RRC), up 6.6%; Chesapeake Energy (CHK), up 11%; and Cabot Oil & Gas (COG), up 4.1%.