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S&P 500 Posts 0.6% Weekly Gain as Telecom, Consumer Staples Climb But Energy, Materials Weigh

The Standard & Poor’s 500 index rose 0.6% this week, with the telecommunications and consumer-staples sectors leading to the upside while the energy and materials sectors weighed amid declines in related commodities.

The market benchmark ended the week at 2850.13, up from last week’s closing level of 2,833.28. The weekly gain came as many sectors were boosted throughout the week by better-than-expected quarterly results and guidance. Stocks also got a boost late Friday as officials for the U.S. and China said the nations are planning talks to try to end their trade conflicts by November.

However, the energy and materials sectors still ended the week in the red as oil and copper prices fell on fears of an economic crisis in Turkey. Slight weekly declines were also recorded by the consumer-discretionary and technology sectors.

The telecommunications sector posted the largest weekly percentage gain, up 3.7%. CenturyLink (CTL) jumped 9.8% this week as investors and analysts continued to react positively to the networking company’s report last week of better-than-expected Q2 adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization and increased guidance for 2018 adjusted EBITDA. RBC raised its price target on the shares this week to $27 each from $22.

The consumer-staples sector had the second-largest percentage weekly increase, up 3.2%. Its climb came as Walmart (WMT) shares rose 8.5% on the week amid the big-box retailer’s report of better-than-expected fiscal Q2 results and a boost to its fiscal-year guidance.

The energy sector’s 3.6% drop came as crude-oil futures fell this week amid declines in the Turkish lira, a stronger dollar, and an unexpected increase in U.S. crude inventories. Exxon Mobil (XOM) shares, which were also hit by a US district court judge’s ruling that the company must face a lawsuit over climate-change accounting, slipped 1.5% on the week.

The materials sector fell 0.5% as copper futures entered bear-market territory earlier this week for the first time since November 2016. Shares of Freeport-McMoRan (FCX), which is the world’s largest publicly traded copper producer, tumbled 7.5% this week.