Stocks have a wobbly day but notch a three-week win streak
Wall Street finished a record-setting week on a downbeat note Friday after a late flurry of selling nudged stocks lower, ending the market’s four-day winning streak.
Even with the modest losses, the market delivered its third straight weekly gain, with the benchmark Standard & Poor’s 500 index hovering just below its record-high close from Thursday.
Thursday’s milestone came amid a swift turnaround for stocks this month that has erased the losses from May’s steep sell-off. The major U.S. stock indexes are up more than 7% so far this month and are holding on to gains of more than 14% for the year.
Investors have been reassured by statements from the Federal Reserve this month that suggest the central bank is prepared to cut interest rates in response to a slowing global economy. But traders remain concerned that corporate profits might suffer if the kind of economic slowdown that would prompt the Fed to cut rates takes hold.
A mixed batch of economic data Friday didn’t have much effect on trading, which remained mostly muted as investors took a breather after a four-day rally.
The S&P 500 index edged down 3.72 points, or 0.1%, to 2,950.46. The Dow Jones industrial average slipped 34.04 points, or 0.1%, to 26,719.13. The Nasdaq composite fell 19.63 points, or 0.2%, to 8,031.71.
Smaller-company stocks fared worse than the rest of the market. The Russell 2000 index slumped 13.87 points, or 0.9%, to 1,549.63.
Bond prices fell. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 2.06% from Thursday’s 2%.
Trading was wobbly much of Friday as investors sized up a mixed batch of economic data. A report on manufacturing came in below analysts’ forecasts. A real estate report was more encouraging, indicating that sales of previously occupied U.S. homes increased in May.
Stocks’ modest decline cut into some of the market’s gains from Thursday but did little to dent Wall Street’s June rally.
All told, the S&P 500 is up 17.7% this year, while the Dow is up 14.5%. The Nasdaq, which his heavily weighted with technology stocks, is up 21.1%. The Russell 2000 is up 14.9%.
The biggest uncertainty looming over the market remains the U.S.-China trade war. Stocks opened the week higher and rallied since then after President Trump said he planned to meet with China’s president next week at the G20 summit in Japan to discuss the trade conflict.
Both nations’ leaders have lately signaled a willingness to resolve the dispute.
Meanwhile, the Federal Reserve has signaled that it is willing to cut interest rates to stabilize the U.S. economy if the trade war crimps growth. That has helped drive the market’s rebound in June.
“It’s not so much a question about whether the Fed is going to be accommodative or not, it’s just what that magnitude is going to be,” said Ioana Martin, global investment specialist at J.P. Morgan Private Bank.
The G20 summit is likely to be the next big market mover, Martin said. “That hopefully gives us a little bit more color on the trade situation.”
Technology stocks took some of the heaviest losses Friday, with chipmakers leading the way down. Micron Technology lost 2.6%. Advanced Micro Devices declined 3%.
Industrial stocks also fell. Snap-on dropped 3.7%.
Healthcare stocks notched solid gains. Humana climbed 4.4%. UnitedHealth Group rose 1.8%.
Communications stocks also rose. Video game publisher Electronic Arts led the way, gaining 2.3%.
Energy stocks climbed for the second day in a row along with the price of crude oil. Baker Hughes shares advanced 3.3%. Valero Energy shares rose 2.7%.
Benchmark crude oil rose 0.6% to settle at $57.43 a barrel. It ended with a 9.2% gain for the week — the biggest weekly gain in more than two years. Only a few weeks ago, the price of U.S. crude was in a bear market; that is, a drop of at least 20% from a recent peak.
Brent crude oil, the international standard, rose 1.2% to close at $65.20 a barrel.
Used-car retailer CarMax rose 3.2% after its quarterly profit and revenue blew past Wall Street’s forecasts.
Staffing company Korn Ferry plunged 17.5% after reporting weak revenue during its latest quarter and issuing a profit forecast that fell short of most analysts’ expectations.
Wholesale gasoline rose 3.9% to $1.86 a gallon. Heating oil climbed 1.7% to $1.92 a gallon. Natural gas was little changed at $2.19 per 1,000 cubic feet.
Gold rose 0.2% to $1,400.10 an ounce. Silver fell 1.3% to $15.29 an ounce. Copper fell 0.3% to $2.70 a pound.
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