Stocks Sag at the Close Friday 01/30 17:09
The U.S. stock market capped a rough month Friday, delivering its third loss
in five days and extending its declines for the year.
(AP) -- The U.S. stock market capped a rough month Friday, delivering its
third loss in five days and extending its declines for the year.
All told, the Standard & Poor's 500 index fell 3 percent in January, its
worse monthly performance in a year. While the U.S. economy continued to show
signs of strength, energy companies suffered from a sharp drop in oil prices
and some big multinational companies saw their earnings dinged by a stronger
On Friday, investors also weighed the consequences of a slowdown in U.S.
economic growth and how further strength in the dollar could dent corporate
"The real issue still is the confusion, the uncertainty around the speed of
decline in oil prices and what that means, and the rise in the dollar and what
that means for earnings," said Bob Doll, chief equity strategist at Nuveen
The concerns about a surging dollar intensified after Russia's central bank
unexpectedly cut interest rates to 15 percent from 17 percent to help the
weakening economy. That sent the ruble down against the dollar.
Before the U.S. market opened, the government said that the economy grew 2.6
percent in the last quarter of 2014, as weaker government and business spending
held growth back. The decline was unexpected and down from a gain of 4.6
percent in the second quarter and 5 percent in the third quarter.
But others news signaled the steady health of the U.S. economy. Consumer
spending surged in the final three months of 2014. The Labor Department
reported that wages and benefits rose last year by 2.2 percent, the biggest
calendar-year increase since 2008
Investors also sifted through the latest batch of corporate earnings news,
and the results were mixed.
Amazon.com and Visa reported strong results late Thursday. Amazon jumped
13.7 percent, while Visa rose 2.8 percent.
Several companies didn't fare as well, including Ugg footwear maker Deckers
Outdoor and the parent of Hawaiian Airlines, which offered discouraging
outlooks. Deckers slumped 19.7 percent, while Hawaiian Holdings slid 27 percent.
The Dow Jones industrial average dropped 251.90 points, or 1.5 percent, to
close at 17,164.95. The S&P 500 index lost 26.26 points, or 1.3 percent, to
1,994.99. The Nasdaq composite fell 48.17 points, or 1 percent, to 4,635.24.
Nine of the 10 sectors in the S&P 500 fell, with utilities declining the
The one sector that rose was energy. Benchmark U.S. crude rose $3.71 to
close at $48.24 a barrel in New York. The price rose on expectations of lower
supplies as the number of working drilling rigs continued to fall, according to
a closely-watched industry count. Concerns over an attack on oil-rich Kirkuk,
Iraq by Islamic insurgents also spurred oil buying and higher prices.
While oil had a strong day, it remains in a deep slump. The price of
benchmark U.S. crude has fallen to $48 a barrel from over $107 last June.
Demand for ultra-safe bonds rose. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note
fell to 1.66 percent Friday, the lowest since May 2013. Yields fall as bond
"I think that the bond market is starting to scare equity investors: 'What
do they know that I don't?'" said Jim Paulsen, chief investment strategist at
Wells Capital Management. "The bond market is telling us that things are
The dollar strengthened against the euro, which slipped to $1.1291 from
In other futures trading:
-- Brent crude rose $3.86 to close at $52.99 in London.
-- Wholesale gasoline rose 6.1 cents to close at $1.415 a gallon.
-- Heating oil rose 6.8 cents to close at $1.686 a gallon.
-- Natural gas fell 2.8 cents to close at $2.691 per 1,000 cubic feet.