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Stocks End 2017 With Losses But Big Gains For The Year | Stock News & Stock Market Analysis

The stock indexes closed lower Friday as a wave of selling swept through the market in the final half hour of trading.

X The Nasdaq composite fell 0.7%, breaking a trend of small price changes of less than 0.4%. The S&P 500 and the Dow Jones industrial average lost 0.5% after spending most of the session mildly lower.

The Russell 2000 lost 0.9% by the close. The small-cap benchmark rose about 15% in 2017, lagging the main indexes. For the year, the Nasdaq was up 28% and the S&P 500 19%. The Dow leaped 25%, reflecting a strong year for big caps.

Volume ended higher, according to preliminary data. Trading normally is slow on the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day, more so on the Friday before a three-day weekend. But last-minute window dressing can spark some trading on the final day of the quarter.

Some retail, telecom, auto and solar stocks were the poorest performers Friday. Industrial and commodity groups such as oil drilling, building materials and metals distributors had gains for the day.

Amazon.com (AMZN) fell more than 1% but volume was light and shares maintained their altitude. President Trump sent out a tweet saying the U.S. Postal Service should charge Amazon more.

In the IBD 50, New Oriental Education (EDU) rose past the 94.73 buy point of its new base. But the stock closed slightly below that level and volume was about two-thirds less than usual, which raises questions about the breakout.

But another Chinese stock in the IBD 50, China Lodging (HTHT), had a better breakout. Shares closed above the 142.90 buy point of a cup-without-handle base, and volume was about 30% above average.

There were a handful of other breakouts, but volume was in short supply for most.

Valvoline (VVV) broke out of a flat base, topping a 25.17 buy point.  But volume was light, which was typical for the day before a three-day weekend. The maker of motor oil and other lubricants has an IBD EPS Rating of 72 out of a maximum possible 99 after some uneven EPS results the past several quarters.

San Diego-based biotech Neurocrine Biosciences (NBIX) broke out of a flat base as shares rallied above the 76.08 buy point.

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