Stocks log first weekly loss since early May

Caution has once again overcome the U.S. stock market.

Stocks finished mixed Friday, leaving all the major indexes with their first weekly loss since early May. Technology, financial and retail stocks gained, while utilities and energy stocks were lower.

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 15.87, or 0.2%, to 8,539.73. The broader Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 2.86, or 0.3%, to 921.23 and the Nasdaq composite index gained 19.75, or 1.1%, to 1,827.47.

The market had started the day stronger following surprisingly good reports the day before on jobs and manufacturing.

But with little in way of corporate or economic news Friday, prospects were poor for restarting a rally that powered the market up as much as 40% this spring after hitting its lowest level in more than a decade in early March.

Traders have grown worried in recent weeks that an economic recovery may be more subdued than originally hoped and that the huge run-up in stocks may have been overdone.

"There's no question in my mind that the economy is improving," said Phil Orlando, chief equity market strategist at Federated Investors. "But investors are betting on some sideways consolidation rather than a continuation of a sharp spike in share prices."

Trading was also jumpy because of the occurrence of a quarterly "quadruple witching," which marks the simultaneous expiration of four different kinds options and futures contracts.

About three stocks rose for every two that fell on the New York Stock Exchange, where volume came to a heavy 2.13 billion shares, compared with 1.09 billion shares at the end of trading Thursday.

All the major indexes closed the week down for the first time since the week of May 11. The Dow lost 3%, the S&P 500 index fell 2.6%, and the Nasdaq shed 1.7%.

Traders have been anticipating a pullback after such big gains in such a short period. Usually, a 40% move like the one in the S&P 500 index takes years to develop, not months.

"It's not going to be a one-way ride," said Keith Walter, portfolio manager of Artio Global Equity Fund.

Analysts are divided over whether the market's pullback this week has more to go, or if it can now move higher after back-to-back weeks of relatively sideways movement; Last week all the major indexes rose less than 1%.

Many predict choppy trading well through the summer, when there is typically less volume, and as the market heads into earnings season in July.

Bond prices rose slightly after sliding Thursday. The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note, a widely used benchmark for mortgages and other loans, fell to 3.78% from 3.81% late Thursday.

Tech stocks moved higher as Apple's latest version of its popular iPhone hit store shelves. Apple shares added $3.60, or 2.7%, to $139.48, while rival smart phone maker Palm jumped more than 6%, rising 87 cents to $13.93.

In other trading, the Russell 2000 index of smaller companies rose 3.24, or 0.6%, to 512.72.

Join the Discussion
You are using an outdated version of Internet Explorer. Please click here to upgrade your browser in order to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
You Might Also Like...