U.S. stocks wavered between small gains and losses Friday, struggling to maintain the momentum from a two-day winning streak following a week of volatile trading. Energy companies led a broad, late-afternoon slide. Smaller company stocks were outgaining the rest of the market.
KEEPING SCORE: The S&P 500 index fell 4 points, or 0.2
On Thursday the Dow erased a 600-point loss and finished with a gain of 260 points. The swing was indicative of the volatility that has gripped the stock market throughout December. Friday has seen its own fluctuations, though less dramatic.
THE QUOTE: "It seems like convulsions in either direction have been the real norm for much of December and that's certainly been the case this week," said Eric Wiegand senior portfolio manager for Private Wealth Management at U.S. Bank. "The initial push higher and then seeing it subside a little bit is perhaps getting back to a little bit more of a normal environment, reflecting the reality that we have still a number of issues overhanging the market."
VOLATILE WEEK: Volatility has been the norm in December as investors have grown worried that the testy U.S.-China trade dispute and higher interest rates would slow the economy, hurting corporate profits. The Dow has dropped 2
"The market is substantially cheaper than it was going into the fourth quarter, and we believe quite a bit of the price action we saw in the fourth quarter was more indicative of a panic and a recession," said Janet Johnston, portfolio manager at TrimTabs Asset Management. "And that sets up a good buying opportunity."
ENERGY: Oil prices recovered after wavering in midmorning trading. Benchmark U.S. crude rose 1.6
Despite the rise in oil prices, energy sector stocks declined. Cabot Oil & Gas slid 3.7
SETTLE & PAY: Wells Fargo rose 1.2
MORE OVERSIGHT: Tesla climbed 5.3
HOUSING SLOWS: Homebuilders fell broadly in the morning after the National Association of Realtors said its pending home sales index fell last month as fewer Americans signed contracts to buy homes. Higher mortgage rates and prices are squeezing would-be buyers out of the market, especially in the West. The stocks mostly recovered by mid-afternoon. William Lyon Homes gained 3.4
BOND YIELDS: Bonds prices rose early then
CURRENCY: The dollar declined to 110.41 yen from Thursday's 110.74 yen. The euro weakened to $1.1442 from $1.1449.
METALS: Gold edged up 0.1
MARKETS OVERSEAS: In Europe, Germany's DAX rose 1.7
Alex Veiga, The Associated Press