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Stocks Pare Losses; A Hopeful Sign For Battered Chips? | Stock News & Stock Market Analysis

The stock market impressively trimmed sharp losses Friday, though it still closed lower in a session rocked by news out of Washington, D.C.

X The Nasdaq composite closed 0.4% lower as semiconductor, solar and fiber optic industry groups had some of the worst losses on the day. But the composite closed near session highs after being down as much as 2%.

Chip stocks were particularly hard hit this week. The iShares PHLX Semiconductor ETF (SOXX) tumbled 6% and suffered its worst week since January 2016. The ETF and several chip stocks are battling for support at the 50-day moving average.

The S&P 500, off 1.6% at one point, fell 0.2% at the closing bell. The Dow Jones industrial average also fell 0.2%. Dow component Verizon (VZ) broke out of a shallow cup base, crossing above the 51.28 buy point in volume modestly above average. An analyst believes the company looms as a bigger player in bidding for sports-broadcasting rights.

Small caps fared a bit worse, with the Russell 2000 shedding 0.5%. The Dow transports slid 0.9%, with airlines and truckers lagging.

Volume came in pretty close to Thursday’s levels, according to early figures. Advancers and decliners were about even on the NYSE, while winners topped losers by nearly 6-to-5 on the Nasdaq.

The market was roiled Friday morning after news that former national security advisor Michael Flynn agreed to plead guilty and may offer testimony that may be damaging to President Trump and his administration.

But indexes soon started paring losses. Wall Street also kept a close eye on the U.S. Senate, where Republicans appeared to have enough votes to approve a landmark tax overhaul that includes a cut in corporate taxes to a 20% rate.

Facebook (FB) fell and made a deeper drop below the 50-day moving average, but closed near that line in what could be interpreted as a sign of support.

Oil stocks led after the price of crude rose 1.6% to $58.29 a barrel, a day after OPEC and other major oil producers agreed to extend output curbs through next year. Exploration, oilfield service, drilling, oil machinery and pipeline industry groups were in Friday’s top 12 out of 197 groups.

Thinly traded Ring Energy (REI) broke out of a cup base with a  14.77 buy point in about one-third more volume than usual. The Midland, Texas-based exploration and production company posted earnings the past three quarters after several periods of losses.

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