Stocks Close Little Changed, but Enjoy Weekly Gains

Stocks closed little changed on Friday as investors capped a strong week of gains amid optimism around a potential coronavirus vaccine and the U.S. reopening its economy.

The Dow Jones Industrials came off its lows of the day, and actually progressed to within 8.96 points of breakeven to end the week at 24,465.16.

The S&P 500 recovered 6.94 points to 2,955.45.

The NASDAQ regained 39.71 points to 9,324.59.

Monday, markets in the U.S. will be shuttered for Memorial Day.

For the week, Dow gained 3.3% to post its best weekly performance since April 9. The S&P 500 and NASDAQ also rose more than 3% this week.

News about a potential vaccine from Moderna sent equities flying earlier in the week, with the Dow surging more than 900 points on Monday. Moderna said all 45 participants in its vaccine trial had developed coronavirus antibodies.

Media reported Friday, citing scientists leading the program, the U.S. is working on a effort involving more than 100,000 volunteers to test promising vaccine candidates.

Retailers such as TJX and Gap were among the best-performing stocks this week, bolstered by optimism over states reopening their economies. TJX rallied 13.2% for the week while Gap advanced 8%. Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo all climbed more than 3% this week.

Overnight, China released draft legislation over new national security measures on Hong Kong after last year’s burst of anti-government protests in the city.

That law is expected to increase Beijing’s hold over Hong Kong. China also opted against setting a Gross Domestic Product target for 2020 as the coronavirus batters the second-largest economy in the world.

Prices for the 10-Year Treasury gained ground, lowering yields to 0.66% from Thursday’s 0.68%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.

Oil prices slid 55 cents to $33.37 U.S. a barrel.

Gold prices picked up $12.70 to $1,734.60 U.S. an ounce.