U.S. stocks edge down, mostly lower for weekBy Victor Reklaitis, MarketWatch
NEW YORK (MarketWatch) -- U.S. stocks stepped lower Friday and finished mostly down for the week, as the S&P 500
snapped a two-week winning streak that's left it just below a record level.
Stocks spent most of the session in modestly positive territory, but those gains faded by day's end.
The S&P 500 (SPX) dipped 3.53 points, or 0.2%, to close at 1,836.25, as telecoms fared worst and consumer
discretionary performed best. The benchmark index lost 0.1% for the week, putting it 0.7% below its Jan. 15 record close
The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) shed 29.93 points, or 0.2%, to finish at 16,103.30. Nike Inc. (Symbol : NKE) and Walt
Disney Co. (Symbol : DIS) both gained 1.2% to lead the Dow, while Verizon Communications Inc. (Symbol : VZ) fell 1.8% for the worst
performance among blue chips. The Dow dipped 0.3% for the week, also halting a two-week winning streak.
The Nasdaq Composite (RIXF) edged down 4.13 points, or 0.1%, to close at 4,263.41. But the tech-laden index still
finished up 0.5% for the week -- its third straight weekly gain.
Stocks have been bouncing back from a slump in late January and early February, as investors lately look past a number
of disappointing economic reports, attributing them to the particularly bad winter weather that's hit much of the U.S.
On Friday, existing-home sales in January showed a bigger-than-expected decline, but unusually poor weather may have
played a role, the National Association of Realtors said.
But there is a challenge presented by how stock investors have reacted to weak data, according to Steven Wieting,
global chief investment strategist for Citi Private Bank.
Markets "that have looked over the valley to a stronger period of U.S. growth ahead, may not have to 'tilt up' when
that recovery from weather-related weakness becomes apparent," Wieting said in a client note on Friday.
Nonetheless, Citi Private Bank still predicts moderate gains for U.S. stocks. Wieting said his bank's "expectation for
a roughly 7% gain in U.S. market earnings per share, low interest rates and growing dividends leaves us expecting
further U.S. market gains, if more modest than 2013."
In other economic news on Friday, Dallas Federal Reserve President Richard Fisher said the central bank should
continue to taper its bond-buying program that's boosted stocks.
"There wasn't that much news. Basically what we saw was typical volatility on options expirations," said Peter
Cardillo, chief market economist at Rockwell Global Capital. were on the calendar.
When the S&P 500 couldn't punch through to a new 52-week high earlier Friday, that might have invited some selling,
Cardillo added. But overall, the holiday-shortened week "wasn't bad" and Friday's market action wasn't a "game changer,"
See a recap: MarketWatch's live blog of Friday's stock-market action
Among individual stocks, Groupon Inc. (Symbol : GRPN) slid 22% after the daily-deals company late Thursday delivered a
Hewlett-Packard Co. (Symbol : HPQ) fell 1.3%, as the PC and printers maker cut short an early rally on its upbeat quarterly
Priceline.com Inc. (Symbol : PCLN) climbed 2.5% after the online travel broker late Thursday reported fourth-quarter results
that exceeded expectations.
In other financial markets on Friday, European stock markets closed higher, following a mostly upbeat session in Asia.
Metals prices rose, while oil prices suffered. The dollar dipped against major rivals.
More must-reads from MarketWatch:
Panera Bread is blaming, yes, the weather, and the market seems to agree
Google was reportedly willing to outbid Facebook for WhatsApp
Most retailers on sideline despite Obama's nudge to raise minimum wage
You're invited to ... Bitcoin: Boom and Bust
-Victor Reklaitis; 415-439-6400; AskNewswires@dowjones.com
Subscribe to WSJ: http://online.wsj.com?mod=djnwires
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
Copyright (c) 2014 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
Copyright © 2014 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved