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December 13, 2017
Friday, January 2, 2015

Wall Street down on first trading day of 2015

US stocks retreated modestly, reversing an earlier advance, as investors found few reasons to buy in the new year following data that came in below forecasts.

In a sign of tepid economic conditions, construction spending unexpectedly fell in November by 0.3 percent, while the pace of growth in the US manufacturing sector slipped to a six-month low in December, according to the Institute for Supply Management.

Markets had opened higher in a broad rally, but indexes later lost ground. With volume light in the wake of the New Year's holiday, heightened volatility is likely.

Wall Street ended the last day of 2014 on a down note, but notched solid gains for the year and fourth quarter.

A 12-day rally of nearly 6 percent through Dec. 29 sent the S&P 500 to a record high that has lost steam of late, with the benchmark index on track for its third straight decline. As market participant adjust positions in the new year, they will be questioning whether current levels are justified.

Energy shares edged up 0.2 percent, alternating between gains and losses alongside choppy trading in crude oil. Kinder Morgan shares advanced 0.5 percent to $42.53 while Anadarko Petroleum lost 0.8 percent to $81.86. US crude is set for its 13th negative week out of the past 14, and is at levels not seen since 2009.

For the week, the Dow is down 1.3 percent, the S&P off 1.7 percent and the Nasdaq off 1.9 percent.

General Motors slipped 0.4 percent to $34.78 after the automaker announced three new vehicle recalls, the biggest involving the ignition-switch design of several SUV and pickup truck models.

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 27.74 points, or 0.16 percent, to 17,795.33, the S&P 500 lost 5.75 points, or 0.28 percent, to 2,053.15 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 20.57 points, or 0.43 percent, to 4,715.48.

Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by 1,607 to 1,437, for a 1.12-to-1 ratio; on the Nasdaq, 1,712 issues fell and 999 advanced for a 1.71-to-1 ratio.

Meanwhile, southern European stock markets were rallying, outperforming other markets in the region, as expectations grew that the European Central Bank would take more steps to boost the euro zone's economy.

In a German newspaper interview, ECB President Mario Draghi reiterated that the bank was ready for new measures, such as buying government bonds -- so-called quantitative easing -- to provide more stimulus.

Investors have speculated that QE would have the strongest effect on the euro zone's weakest economies -- Greece, Spain, Portugal and Italy -- and their stock markets posted the biggest gains on Friday.

Spain's IBEX rose 1.6 percent, Italy's FTSE MIB 1 percent and Greece's main ATG equity index 1.7 percent. By comparison, the pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index was flat and Germany's DAX edged up 0.2 percent.

Greece's ATG index fell around 30 percent in 2014, hit by political uncertainty before a general election on Jan. 25. Polls showed the opposition Syriza party leading Prime Minister Antonis Samaras's New Democracy party, which imposed unpopular budget cuts under Greece's bailout deal. Syriza said it would cancel the austerity measures along with a chunk of Greek debt.

Britain's blue-chip FTSE 100 index was flat, underperforming the gains on the continental European markets.

The FTSE was hurt by a pullback at Royal Bank of Scotland , whose shares fell after The Times newspaper reported it might face fines over the sale of toxic mortgage-backed debt in the US of more than 5 billion pounds ($7.76 billion).

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Edition No. 5055 - This publication is a property of NEFIR S.A. -RNPI Nº 5343955 - Issn 1852 - 9224 - Te. 4349-1500 - San Juan 141 , (C1063ACY) CABA - Director Perdiodístico: Ricardo Daloia