Wall Street edges lower, on track for weekly loss

June 27, 2014

By Ryan Vlastelica

NEW YORK (Reuters) – U.S. stocks fell slightly on Friday as investors found few reasons to keep buying as economic data painted a mixed picture of economic growth, though equities continued to be viewed as a better deal than other assets.

The S&P 500 is less than 1 percent away from a record closing high hit last week, but breaking decisively above that level may be difficult amid a dearth of catalysts. Still, with the second quarter nearing a close, the S&P 500 is up about 5.8 percent year-to-date.

U.S. consumer sentiment rose more than expected in June, according to the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan’s final June reading, though that follows weak reads on consumer spending and first-quarter economic activity earlier this week.

Nike Inc rose 1.9 percent to $78.34 a day after fourth-quarter earnings beat expectations. However, those gains were offset on the Dow as DuPont, a fellow component, cut its full-year operating profit outlook, sending shares down 2.9 percent to $65.73.

“The market is listless with earnings and data coming in mixed, but stocks in general continue to look attractive relative to bonds, and we’re fairly priced from a historical perspective,” said David Katz, chief investment officer at Matrix Asset Advisors in New York. “That should be enough to continue driving buyers, even with disappointing news.”

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 42.29 points or 0.25 percent, to 16,803.84, the S&P 500 lost 2.85 points or 0.15 percent, to 1,954.37 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 3.19 points or 0.07 percent, to 4,375.86.

For the week, the Dow is down 0.8 percent and the S&P is down 0.4 percent. The Nasdaq, which is up 0.2 percent, is on track for its sixth weekly rise out of the past seven. The CBOE Volatility index is up 8.4 percent this week.

Trading volume has been below average of late, but that is not expected to hold true on Friday, which could see heavy action going into the close as Russell Investments announces the final reconstitution of its indexes, which will affect more than $5 trillion in assets.

In company news, Relational Investors LLC late Thursday disclosed an 8.52 percent stake in Manitowoc Co Inc and said it would separate it into two companies. Shares of Manitowoc jumped 9 percent to $32.37.

Keurig Green Mountain Inc popped 3.2 percent to $124.09 as the S&P’s biggest gainer, lifted after Argus Research upgraded the stock to “buy” from “hold.”

On the downside, Dollar General Corp was the S&P 500′s biggest decliner, off 5.8 percent to $58.11 after the company’s chief executive announced his retirement, effective next May.

(Editing by Bernadette Baum and Nick Zieminski)

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