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Healthcare and bank stocks pull U.S. indexes slightly lower

The floor of the New York Stock Exchange.
The floor of the New York Stock Exchange.
(Richard Drew / Associated Press)

Stocks finished slightly lower Friday in subdued trading ahead of a three-day holiday weekend. Healthcare companies and banks slipped.

President Trump signed the Republican-backed tax bill into law, but for the fourth day in a row, stocks didn’t move much. They had made strong gains in recent weeks as investors became more sure the $1.5-trillion package would pass.

High-dividend stocks made small gains even as bond yields remained near their recent highs.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 index fell 1.23 points, or less than 0.1%, to 2,683.34. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 28.23 points, or 0.1%, to 24,754.06. The Nasdaq composite fell 5.40 points, or 0.1%, to 6,959.96.

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The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks dipped 4.18 points, or 0.3%, to 1,542.93. Those companies, which stand to benefit more than others from lower tax rates, outpaced the market this week.

Stocks are below the record highs they reached Monday but still finished higher for the fifth week in a row.

Markets will be closed Monday in observance of Christmas. With just four days of trading left in 2017, stocks are on pace to finish every month of the year with gains, when dividends are included.

Nike slumped $1.48, or 2.3%, to $63.29. The company had a strong quarter overall, as its profit and sales both beat Wall Street projections. But Nike’s North American business continued to struggle.

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Banks took modest losses. They’ve done far better than the rest of the market as the tax bill has been at the forefront of investors’ minds and interest rates have moved higher.

Papa John’s founder John Schnatter will step down as the pizza chain’s CEO next month, about two months after he criticized the NFL leadership over national anthem protests by players. The company’s stock shed $2.33, or 3.9%, to $56.90 on Friday.

World Wrestling Entertainment dropped $2.32, or 7.3%, to $29.55 after the company disclosed that Chairman and CEO Vince McMahon sold 3.3 million shares to raise money for new investments in sports and entertainment, potentially including football. WWE said he plans to remain its chairman and CEO, and he remains its main shareholder.

Bond prices were little changed. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note remained at 2.48%.

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Benchmark U.S. crude rose 11 cents to $58.47 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, which is used to price international oils, rose 35 cents to $65.25 a barrel in London.

Gold rose $8.20 to $1,278.80 an ounce. Silver climbed 21 cents to $16.44 an ounce. Copper gained 2 cents to $3.24 a pound.

The dollar fell to 113.31 yen from 113.35 yen. The euro fell to $1.1852 from $1.1873.


UPDATES:

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2:45 p.m.: This article was updated with market closing figures.

8:10 a.m.: This article was updated with market prices and context.

This article was originally published at 7:05 a.m.


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