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Stocks End Choppy Week Mixed           05/18 16:17

   Despite a choppy week of trading and a mixed finish for U.S. stocks, the 
market extended its recent streak of relative calm Friday.

   (AP) -- Despite a choppy week of trading and a mixed finish for U.S. stocks, 
the market extended its recent streak of relative calm Friday.

   The S&P 500, the market's benchmark index, notched its 10th day in a row 
without a gain or drop of 1 percent or more. That's the longest stretch going 
back to January 26, when the market broke four and a half months of calm with a 
1.2 percent gain, which also marked a record high.

   Just one week later, the market entered an extended bout of volatility that 
included a rapid plunge of 10 percent in early February. That was the first 
"correction" the market had seen in two years.

   Since then, the market has returned to quieter trading, even as U.S. 
companies report fatter profits and investors grow anxious about rising 
interest rates and the threat of a trade war between the U.S. and China.

   "Now it feels like investors are paralyzed trying to choose between a pretty 
solid economic picture and great earnings growth, and rising rates and ongoing 
geopolitical drama day to day," said Craig Birk, executive vice president of 
portfolio management at Personal Capital.

   The S&P 500 index fell 7.16 points, or 0.3 percent, to 2,712.97. The Dow 
Jones industrial average gained 1.11 points to 24,715.09. The Nasdaq composite 
lost 28.13 points, or 0.4 percent, to 7,354.34.

   The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks rose 1.34 points, or 0.1 
percent, to 1,626.63, its third all-time high in a row.

   The indexes finished the week in the red, but are still on track for gains 
this month, led by the Russell 2000.

   After a strong start to the month, markets have been choppy this week as 
investors turned the page on the first-quarter earnings reporting season and 
weighed the implications of the ongoing trade tensions between the U.S. and 
China. The countries, which have threatened tariffs on each other, were holding 
discussions aimed at averting a trade war between the world's two biggest 
economies.

   Traders have also been coming to grips with the yield on the 10-year 
Treasury note moving well past 3 percent. It hit 3.12 percent on Wednesday, its 
highest level in almost seven years.

   "The issue of inflation is starting to rear its head again," said Jeff 
Kravetz, regional investment strategist for U.S. Bank Private Wealth 
Management. "That's got investors a bit nervous. And then we have the dollar 
strengthening and emerging markets weakening."

   Even so, the S&P 500 has remained on a narrow trading range, keeping 
volatility largely under wraps, at least for now.

   On Friday, banks and technology companies were among the biggest decliners, 
offsetting gains by industrial and health care stocks. Energy companies also 
declined as crude oil prices closed lower.

   Bond prices rose, sending yields lower. The yield on the 10-year Treasury 
fell to 3.06 percent from 3.12 percent late Thursday. The pullback in bond 
yields, which affect interest rates on mortgages and other consumer loans, 
weighed on bank stocks. Citigroup fell 2.2 percent to $69.96.

   Some companies' latest quarterly results or outlooks also put investors in a 
selling mood Friday.

   Campbell Soup plunged 12.4 percent to $34.37 after the packaged foods 
company lowered its profit forecast and said that its CEO, Denise Morrison, was 
retiring effectively immediately. The stock was the biggest decliner in the S&P 
500 and had its worst single-day drop since 1999.

   Nordstrom tumbled 10.9 percent to $45.36 after the upscale department store 
chain said sales at established stores, a key metric for retailers, showed 
meager gains in the first quarter.

   Applied Materials slumped 8.2 percent to $49.51 after the maker of 
chipmaking equipment forecast revenue for the current quarter that was below 
Wall Street's estimates.

   Industrials and health care stocks notched solid gains. Drugmaker Nektar 
Therapeutics led all stocks in the S&P 500, climbing 7.7 percent to $85.30. 
Deere & Co. gained 5.7 percent to $155.25 after the agricultural and 
construction equipment maker forecast 35 percent growth in equipment sales for 
its third quarter.

   PayPal Holdings added 2 percent to $80.79 on news that the company is buying 
Stockholm-based payment processing startup iZettle for $2.2 billion with the 
aim of expanding into Europe and Latin America.

   Benchmark U.S. crude oil fell 21 cents to settle at $71.28 a barrel in New 
York. Brent crude, used to price international oil, lost 79 cents to $78.51 a 
barrel in London.

   The slide in oil prices was a drag on energy stocks. Range Resources slid 
3.2 percent to $15.17.

   Gold gained $1.90 to $1,291.30 an ounce. Silver slipped 3 cents to $16.46 an 
ounce. Copper dropped 3 cents to $3.06 a pound.

   The dollar fell to 110.68 yen from 110.75 yen on Thursday. The euro weakened 
to $1.1773 from $1.1799.

   In other energy futures trading, heating oil lost 2 cents to $2.27 a gallon. 
Wholesale gasoline slipped a penny to $2.23 a gallon. Natural gas gave up a 
penny to $2.85 per 1,000 cubic feet.

   Major indexes in Europe fell. Germany's DAX gave up 0.3 percent, while 
France's CAC 40 slid 0.1 percent. Britain's FTSE 100 lost 0.1 percent.

   Asian stock markets finished mostly higher. Japan's Nikkei 225 added 0.4 
percent and South Korea's Kospi index rose 0.5 percent. Hong Kong's Hang Seng 
index gained 0.3 percent. 


(BE)

 
 
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