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Indexes Spooked By Russia Developments; VMware Earnings Impress | Stock News & Stock Market Analysis

Major stock indexes were mired in negative territory as Wall Street digested news that former national security adviser Michael Flynn, in a plea deal with special counsel Robert Mueller, will say that President Trump instructed him to talk to Russia during Trump’s campaign.

X Meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said the GOP has the votes for a tax bill.

The Nasdaq composite moved off session lows but was still down 0.5%. Earlier, the Nasdaq was down 2%. The S&P 500 eased 0.3% and the Dow Jones industrial average also slipped 0.3%. Small caps got hit the hardest with the Russell 2000 down 1.1%. Volume on the NYSE and Nasdaq was tracking well above Thursday’s levels.

Intel (INTC) and Visa (V) lagged in the Dow, with losses of 1% to 2%. Chevron (CVX) and Exxon Mobil (XOM) rose modestly, bucking the trend as U.S. crude oil futures closed in on the $60 a barrel level. January WTI crude oil futures were recently trading around $58.39 a barrel, up nearly 2%.

Semiconductor stocks were a drag on the Nasdaq again. The Philadelphia Semiconductor index was down around 2% as it battles for support at the 50-day moving average.

In the stock market today, IBD Sector Leader Five Below (FIVE) reversed lower despite another quarter of strong growth. Shares were down nearly 3% to 60.14.Late Thursday, the retailer reported an 80% rise in quarterly profit, well ahead of expectations, while sales increased 29% to $257.2 million. The top-performing retailer is still holding above an alternate entry of 57.75.

Also in the retail sector, former leader Ulta Beauty (ULTA) crashed 9% to 202.06 as Wall Street worried about another quarter of decelerating sales growth. After a 40% pullback, Ulta is still 35% off its high.

Macy’s (M), meanwhile, continued to make a case for a bottom after the company said it’s hiring more workers thanks to a strong start to the holiday shopping season. After three straight weekly price gains, shares of Macy’s are up 16% so far this week.

Growth stocks rallied early after some stiff selling pressure Wednesday knocked many high-quality names down to their 50-day moving averages, but most turned lower after the Flynn news.

The exception was VMware (VMW), which bounced nicely off the 50-day moving average for the first time after a breakout in August. A strong earnings report was the catalyst. Shares jumped nearly 3% to 123.43.

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