Wall Street opens higher but bank shares slip

NYSE traders Image copyright Reuters

US stock indexes closed higher on Friday despite declines in banking shares as investors reacted to the latest round of results in the sector.

Shares of JP Morgan, Citigroup and Wells Fargo reported a mixed bag of second quarter results, putting pressure on share prices.

The sentiment spread to other bank stocks, leading to decreases at Bank of America and Morgan Stanley.

Gains elsewhere offset the losses, as investors shrugged off weak sales data.

The Dow Jones climbed 0.4% to 21,637.74 and the S&P 500 index rose 0.47% to 2,459.29. The Nasdaq gained 0.6% to 6,311.41.

US retail sales fell 0.2% from May to June - the second month in a row they have declined, according to US Census data. However, May's decline was revised to a fall of 0.1% from the initial estimate of a 0.3% drop.

The sales drop did not appear to hurt retail stocks. Walmart shares were among the market's biggest winners, rising 1.7%.

Stocks were also boosted by weak inflation data, which could reduce the possibility of a third increase in interest rates by the Federal Reserve this year.

The Labor Department said the Consumer Price Index (CPI) rose 1.6% in June from a year earlier, down from a rate of 1.9% in May. The core CPI measure - which ignores food and energy costs - was unchanged at 1.7%.

The S&P 500 and the Dow Jones are up 9% so far this year, while the Nasdaq is ahead 16%.