Mar­ket fol­lows en­ergy, tech stocks lower

Twit­ter shares spike with re­port of pos­si­ble sale talks

Baltimore Sun - - BUSINESS MARYLAND - By Ken Sweet

NEW YORK — U.S. stock in­dexes closed mod­er­ately lower Fri­day fol­low­ing three days of gains. Sev­eral tech­nol­ogy stocks traded heav­ily, in­clud­ing Ya­hoo, Twit­ter and Face­book.

Twit­ter soared $3.99, or 21 per­cent, to $22.62 af­ter busi­ness net­work CNBC re­ported that the com­pany is in talks with Sales­force and Google’s par­ent com­pany Al­pha­bet for a pos­si­ble sale.

Twit­ter has failed to keep pace with Face­book and Snapchat as far as growth and a loyal fan base are con­cerned.

Sales­force said it doesn’t com­ment on ru­mors, and Google did not re­spond to a re­quest to talk about a pos­si­ble deal.

En­ergy stocks also fell along with a steep de­cline in the price of oil.

The Dow Jones in­dus­trial av­er­age lost 131.01 points, or 0.7 per­cent, to 18,261.45. The Stan­dard & Poor’s 500 in­dex lost 12.49 points, or Be­fore Fri­day’s drop, stocks had solid gains this week as the Fed opted not to hike rates. 0.6 per­cent, to 2,164.69 and the Nas­daq com­pos­ite in­dex lost 33.78, or 0.6 per­cent, to 5,305.75.

Stocks posted solid gains this week, with the S&P 500 up 1.2 per­cent, as in­vestors were re­lieved that the Federal Re­serve de­cided to keep rates at their cur­rent low level.

The next time the Fed could raise rates is Novem­ber, but the gen­eral im­pres­sion among in­vestors is the cen­tral bank will not raise rates un­til De­cem­ber, long af­ter the gen­eral elec­tion.

“As much as mar­ket fun­da­men­tals mat­ter, the Fed and its de­ci­sions con­tinue to dom­i­nate mar­kets,” said Kristina Hooper, head of U.S. in­vest­ment strate­gies at Al­lianz Global In­vestors.

Sev­eral t ech­nol­ogy stocks made big moves as in­vestors worked through com­pany-spe­cific news on Face­book, Twit­ter and Ya­hoo.

Face­book fell $2.12, or 1.6 per­cent, to $127.96 af­ter The Wall Street Jour­nal re­ported that the com­pany was over­stat­ing how long users were watch­ing video ads, rais­ing con­cerns that a por­tion of Face­book’s ad rev­enue may be at risk.

Ya­hoo fell $1.35, or 3.1 per­cent, to $42.80 af­ter the com­pany ad­mit­ted the data of 500 mil­lion users were stolen by a for­eign agent, much more than it pre­vi­ously ac­knowl­edged.

While Ya­hoo has pre­vi­ously agreed to sell most of its as­sets to Ver­i­zon, there were con­cerns that this devel­op­ment may cause Ver­i­zon to go back to the ne­go­ti­a­tion table.

While stocks rose this week, most of the gains were in safe, div­i­dend-rich com­pa­nies that in­vestors favor when they’re un­cer­tain about the econ­omy.

The Dow Jones util­ity in­dex was up 3.3 per­cent this week, and the newly cre­ated real es­tate com­po­nent of the S&P 500, made up of real es­tate in­vest­ment trusts, rose 4.3 per­cent.

Oil prices fell sharply af­ter re­ports that Saudi Ara­bia was un­able to reach an agree­ment with Iran to cut pro­duc­tion. U.S. bench­mark crude oil fu­tures closed down $1.84 to $44.48 a bar­rel on the New York Mer­can­tile Ex­change. In other en­ergy trad­ing, heat­ing oil fell 5 cents to $1.41 per gal­lon, whole­sale gaso­line fell 2 cents to $1.38 a gal­lon and nat­u­ral gas fell 3.5 cents to $2.955 per thou­sand cu­bic feet.

MARK LENNI­HAN/AP

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