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Financial Markets                      06/14 15:43

   

   NEW YORK (AP) -- U.S. stocks hung around their record levels on Friday as 
Wall Street remained relatively quiet following another slide in Europe.

   The S&P 500 edged down by less than 0.1%, marking the first time this week 
where it did not set an all-time high. The Dow Jones Industrial Average dipped 
57 points, or 0.1%, while the Nasdaq composite added 0.1% to its record set a 
day before on the back of gains for technology stocks.

   Losses were sharper across the Atlantic, where markets have been rocked by 
the results of recent elections in Europe. Wins by far-right parties have 
raised the pressure on France's president in particular, and investors worry it 
could weaken the European Union, stall fiscal plans and ultimately hurt 
France's ability to pay its debt. Recent elections have also shaken markets in 
Mexico, India and elsewhere.

   France's CAC 40 fell 2.7% to bring its loss for the week to 6.2%, its worst 
in more than two years. Germany's DAX lost 1.4%.

   On Wall Street, RH fell 17.1% after reporting a worse loss for the latest 
quarter than financial analysts expected. The seller of home furnishings called 
this "the most challenging housing market in three decades."

   High mortgage rates have hurt the housing market, as the Federal Reserve has 
kept its main interest rate at the highest level in more than two decades. The 
central bank is intentionally slowing the economy through high rates in hopes 
of starving high inflation of its fuel.

   Cruise-ship operators were among the market's biggest losers after analysts 
at Bank of America flagged softening price trends for trips. Norwegian Cruise 
Line dropped 7.5% for the worst loss in the S&P 500, and Carnival fell 7.1%.

   Stocks have nevertheless set records as hopes rise that inflation is slowing 
enough to convince the Federal Reserve to cut interest rates later this year. 
Big technology stocks, meanwhile, continue to race ahead almost regardless of 
what the economy and interest rates are doing.

   Adobe jumped 14.5% after reporting stronger profit for the latest quarter 
than analysts expected.

   Broadcom rose 3.3% for a second straight day of gains after reporting better 
profit than expected and a 10-for-one stock split to make its price more 
affordable. Nvidia gained 1.8% as the poster child of the rush into 
artificial-intelligence technology sees its total market value climb even 
higher above $3 trillion.

   Nvidia was the strongest single force pushing upward on the S&P 500, as has 
become almost routine recently. Adobe and Broadcom were close behind.

   All told, the S&P 500 dipped 2.14 points to 5,431.60. The Dow lost 57.94 to 
38,589.16, and the Nasdaq composite added 21.32 to 17,688.88.

   In the bond market, U.S. Treasury yields ticked lower after a preliminary 
report from the University of Michigan suggested sentiment among U.S. consumers 
failed to improve this month, against economists' expectations.

   Solid spending by U.S. households has been one of the main engines keeping 
the economy out of a recession, but "assessments of personal finances dipped, 
due to modestly rising concerns over high prices as well as weakening incomes," 
according to Joanne Hsu, director of the Surveys of Consumers.

   Perhaps more importantly for financial markets, expectations for upcoming 
inflation among U.S. consumers don't seem to be moving much, even if they are 
relatively high. That's an encouraging signal that the economy could avoid a 
self-fulfilling cycle where expectations for higher inflation drive behavior 
that creates more of it.

   The yield on the 10-year Treasury fell to 4.21% from 4.25% late Thursday. It 
had been as high as 4.60% late last month, before a couple of encouraging 
reports on inflation.

   In stock markets abroad, indexes were mixed in Asia. Japan's Nikkei 225 rose 
0.2% after the country's central bank held steady on interest rates.

   ___

   AP Business Writer Yuri Kageyama contributed.

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