Stocks drift in a quiet close to week
U.S. stock indexes nestled a hair lower on Friday after the falling price of oil weighed on energy companies, but the S&P 500 nevertheless closed out its third straight winning week following a brutal stretch in December.
It was a day full of broken streaks — oil fell for the first time in two weeks, and the yield on the 10-year Treasury note sank to its first loss in more than a week — but the market remained calm through it. Gradual moves for markets in recent days have offered a respite following the tumultuous trading that rocked investors in late 2018.
The S&P 500 edged down by 0.38 points, or less than 0.1 percent, to 2,596.26. Last month, a typical day for the index was a swing 10 times that.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average dipped 5.97 points, or less than 0.1 per- cent, to 23,995.95. The Nasdaq composite lost 14.59, or 0.2 percent, to 6,971.48, and the Russell 2000 index of smaller stocks ticked up by 1.95, or 0.1 percent, to 1,447.38.
It was the first loss for the S&P 500 in six days, and much of the reason for it was the falling price of oil. Benchmark U.S. crude lost 1.9 percent to settle at $51.59 per barrel, and Brent crude, the international standard, sank 1.9 percent to $60.48 a barrel.
That helped pull energy stock in the S&P 500 down 0.6 percent, the largest loss among the 11 sectors that make up the index. ConocoPhillips, Marathon Oil and Hess all fell more than 1 percent.
Big gains earlier in the week meant the S&P 500 was still hanging onto a 2.5 percent rise for the last five days. The three-week winning streak for the S&P 500 is its longest since August. Not only that, the last three weeks of gains have all been of more than 1.8 percent.
Trader Andrew Silverman on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange on Friday.