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Friday, September 12, 2014

Wall Street declines with energy, ends 5-week string of gains

Major indexes finished lower after five straight weeks of gains.
Major indexes finished lower after five straight weeks of gains.
Major indexes finished lower after five straight weeks of gains.

US stocks fell today as energy shares extended their recent slide, while rising bond yields drove down high-dividend paying shares.

Major indexes finished lower after five straight weeks of gains.

The S&P energy index fell 1.5 percent and was among the day's worst-performing sectors as US oil prices shed 0.6 percent.

The energy group was down 3.7 percent for the week. Shares of Exxon Mobil Corp retreated 1.3 percent on the day, while ConocoPhillips fell 1.2 percent.

The S&P utilities sector dropped 1.8 percent while telecommunications fell 1.2 percent as benchmark US bond yields posted their biggest weekly increase in over a year.

Solid US retail sales and consumer sentiment data on Friday added to concerns the Federal Reserve could raise interest rates sooner than some investors had expected.

The Fed will hold a two-day policy meeting next week. At its conclusion, some investors and economists expect the central bank may tweak the wording of its policy statement to take on a more hawkish tone.

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 61.49 points, or 0.36 percent, to 16,987.51, the S&P 500 lost 11.91 points, or 0.6 percent, to 1,985.54 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 24.21 points, or 0.53 percent, to 4,567.60.

For the week, the Dow was down 0.9 percent, the S&P 500 was down 1.1 percent and the Nasdaq was down 0.3 percent.

The largest percentage gainer on the New York Stock Exchange was Noranda Aluminum Holding, which rose 32.78 percent, while the top percentage decliner was Hyperdynamics, down 9.32 percent.

Among the most active stocks on the NYSE were Sprint, up 6.54 percent to $7.00, and US-listed shares of Petrobras , down 7.09 percent to $16.38.

On the Nasdaq, Yahoo, up 3.9 percent to $42.88; Apple, up 0.2 percent to $101.66; and eBay, up 3.0 percent to $52.19, were among the most actively traded.

EBay pared earlier gains of as much as 4.7 percent after the company dismissed market speculation that Google Inc may be preparing to buy a slice of the company.

Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by 2,460 to 630, for a 3.90-to-1 ratio on the downside; on the Nasdaq, 1,818 issues fell and 872 advanced for a 2.08-to-1 ratio favoring decliners.

The broad S&P 500 index posted 16 new 52-week highs and six new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 59 new highs and 36 new lows.

About 6.0 billion shares changed hands on US exchanges, above the 5.5 billion average for the last five sessions, according to data from BATS Global Markets.


The FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares was up 0.1 percent at 1,385.01 points after losing 0.1 percent on Thursday.

With just a week to go before Scots vote in a referendum on independence, a YouGov poll for The Times and Sun newspapers showed today Scottish support for the union at 52 percent versus support for independence at 48 percent, excluding those who said they did not know how they would vote.

A recent survey for the Sunday Times newspaper had put the "yes" to independence campaign at 51 percent against the "no" camp at 49 percent, rattling investors and sparking worries over similar independence movements across Europe.

"A 'Yes' vote can trigger considerable financial turbulence in the UK," Credit Suisse said.

Also yesterday, hundreds of thousands of Catalans packed the streets of Barcelona to demand the right to vote on a potential split from Spain.

Investors were cautious amid speculation about the prospects for rising US interest, ahead of the Fed's policy meeting next week. The market will focus on the central bank's words, seeking clues on the timing of the first US rate hike in more than eight years.

Recent talk that the Fed might turn hawkish at its policy meeting next week, possibly by dropping its commitment to keeping interest rates low, has seen US Treasury yields and the dollar steadily rise.

Around Europe, UK's FTSE 100 index was up 0.1 percent, Germany's DAX index down 0.3 percent, and France's CAC 40 down 0.2 percent.

Meanwhile, Japanese share prices rose for the fifth straight session today to end at an eight-month high, with exporters leading the gains on the yen's weakness.

Japan's Nikkei share average rose 0.3 percent to 15,948.29 points, its highest close since Jan. 8. For the week, it gained 1.8 percent, outperforming most other share arkets. The broader Topix gained 0.2 percent to a six-year closing high, while the new JPX-Nikkei Index 400 rose 0.2 percent.

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