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Stocks End Mostly Lower; Dow Jones Escapes With A Gain

Stocks closed mostly lower Friday and well off session highs as the market’s rebound earlier in the week turned back into a pumpkin. The Dow Jones industrial average was the only major index higher, up 0.3%.




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The Nasdaq closed 0.5% lower and further below its 200-day moving average after it wiped off a 1.3% morning gain. The S&P 500 lost a fraction after being up 1%.

Small caps, a struggling asset class since September, also fared poorly Friday. The Russell 2000 slid 1.1% and is close to undercutting its Oct. 12 low.

Volume rose on the NYSE and fell on the Nasdaq, according to early figures. Decliners led advancers by about 2-1 on the Nasdaq but the ratio was nearly even on the NYSE.

Defensive Stocks Outperform

The market looked defensive, with consumer staples the best performing sector. The SPDR Consumer Staples ETF (XLP) rose 2.2%. Procter & Gamble (PG), one of the largest companies in that sector, rallied after earnings beat expectations.

The defensive tone was also seen in SPDR Utilities ETF (XLU), which climbed 1.4%, SPDR Dow Jones REIT ETF (RWR), up 0.8%, and the SPDR S&P Dividend (SDY), which added 0.2%.

Technology suffered more losses. Software and semiconductor stocks were broadly weaker. Consumer and health care industry groups ranked among the lowest of 197 groups Friday.

Many stocks in the IBD 50 fell sharply, with 20 of the 50 down 2% or more. Atlassian (TEAM) was at the bottom of the pile, down nearly 14% in heavy volume after the collaboration software firm’s quarterly results and outlook failed to impress investors. Atlassian had already breached support at the 50-day line nearly two weeks ago.

Shares of eBay (EBAY) plunged 9%, adding to a downtrend that began in early February. The stock fell after Stifel Nicolaus downgraded eBay to hold from buy. EBay also seemed rattled by PayPal Holdings (PYPL), whose earnings report late Thursday suggested slowing merchandise sales. PayPal shares gapped up nearly 10% on earnings.

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