Stocks – Trade Fears Push Wall Street Lower as Volatility Reigns

Stocks - Trade Fears Push Wall Street Lower as Volatility Reigns

In a week of extremes, stocks finished mostly lower on Friday as the U.S.-China trade dispute produced another day of volatility.

Every day produced either big losses or big gains. On Wednesday, there was a huge loss at the open, followed by a robust recovery.

Friday was like Wednesday, with the major averages falling sharply after President Donald Trump suggested U.S.

Negotiators will not meet with Chinese trade negotiators next month and there was talk the U.S. would ban sales of chips from U.S. companies to Chinese telecom Huawei.

And then it was as if someone said “never mind” until another wave of selling hit in the last few minutes, a signal that investors are nervous about what will come next week.

Indices and stocks Moves

The Dow , poster child for the volatility all week, was off as many as 281 points early in the day before recovering to a small gain but losing about 100 points in the last 10 minutes. The index ended the day down 0.34%. The S&P 500 fell 0.66%. The NASDAQ Composite was off 1.0%.

For the week, the indexes were lower, but only modestly — despite the volality. The Dow dropped about 0.8%. The S&P 500 was off 0.5%. The Nasdaq fell back 0.6%.

The indexes ended the week roughly 3% below their all-time highs reached in mid-to-late July.

While they’re up handsomely for 2019, the averages actually finished under their peaks in the late summer and early fall of 2018.

Tech, energy and consumer discretionary stocks were lower, with semiconductor stocks among the weakest because of the U.S.-China fight. Healthcare, utility and financial stocks were mostly higher.

Key stocks like Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) and Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) closed down about 0.8%. McDonald’s (NYSE:MCD) hit a new 52-week high of $221.93 and was the Dow leader with a 1.44% gain. Only eight Dow stocks were higher.

Retailers had a miserable day. JC Penney (NYSE:JCP) moved sharply lower after news the department-store chain’s shares could be delisted from the New York Stock Exchange. The shares closed at just 60 cents, down 13.5%. Macy’s (NYSE:M) was off 4.4%. Nordstrom (NYSE:JWN) fell 2.7%.

Commodities moves

While energy stocks were lower, oil prices were higher on news that Saudi Arabia plans to aggressively cut output to push oil higher. West Texas Intermediate crude jumped 3.7% to $54.50 a barrel. Brent Oil Futures, the benchmark global crude, added 2% to $58.53,

Gold futures drifted back to $1,508.50 an ounce on the day and ended the week up 3.5% and above $1,500 for the week for the first time since 2013. Silver, platinum and palladium also were higher on the week.

Next week, the earning season is starting to wind down. Economic reports include the consumer price index report for July, due Tuesday, and reports on building permits and housing starts, due Friday.

Winners and losers in the S&P 500.

Biotech company Amgen (NASDAQ:AMGN), News Corp B (NASDAQ:NWS) and News Corp A (NASDAQ:NWSA) and MarketAxMarketAxess Holdings (NASDAQ:MKTX) were among the top performing S&P 500 stocks on the day.

Software company DXC Technology (NYSE:DXC) (formerly Computer Sciences), biopharmaceutical company Nektar Therapeutics (NASDAQ:NKTR) and troubled food giant Kraft Heinz (NASDAQ:KHC) were among the weakest S&P performers on the day.

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