Belfast Telegraph

Slight fall in US stocks as quiet week of trading ends

US stocks took small losses on Friday to end a quiet week of trading as energy companies fell as a rally in oil prices faded.

The Dow Jones industrial average dropped more than 100 points in early trading but those losses shrank as technology companies and chemicals makers added to the big gains they have made in recent months.

While stocks have not made many big moves this summer and the Standard & Poor's (S&P) 500 index was flat this week, there are signs investors feel comfortable enough to take bigger risks.

Karyn Cavanaugh, senior market strategist for Voya Investment Strategies, said investors recognise that the Federal Reserve and other central banks are keeping the stock market stable.

Investors are putting more money into energy, materials and tech stocks instead of the companies they turned to during the market turmoil at the start of this year.

"Central banks continue to step in to absorb the risk," Ms Cavanaugh said.

"(Investors) don't need the utilities and telecoms any more."

The Dow shed 45.13 points, or 0.2%, to 18,552.57 while the S&P 500 fell 3.15 points, or 0.1%, to 2,183.87.

The Nasdaq composite lost 1.77 points, or less than 0.1%, to 5,238.38. The Nasdaq rose for the eighth week in a row, although the gain was just 0.1%.

US crude rose 30 cents (22p) to 48.52 US dollars (£37.10) a barrel in New York.

US oil has climbed 17% in its seven-day streak but its price has stayed between 40 dollars (£30.58) and 50 dollars (£38.23) a barrel for about four months, and with an enormous glut of oil on the market, it may not rise much further.

Brent crude, used to price international oils, lost one cent to 50.88 dollars (£38.91) a barrel in London.

Chevron lost 1.23 dollars (94p), or 1.2%, to 102.32 dollars (£78.24) and Exxon Mobil retreated 1.11 dollars (84p), or 1.2%, to 87.80 dollars (£67.14).

Technology companies made small gains.

Applied Materials advanced after the manufacturer of chipmaking equipment disclosed new orders and a contract backlog that were much stronger than analysts had forecast. Its stock rose 1.96 dollars (£1.49), or 7.1%, to 29.64 dollars (£22.66).

Security software maker Symantec added 61 cents (46p), or 2.6%, to 23.72 dollars (£18.13).

Apple, which is trading around four-month highs, gained 28 cents dollars (21p) to 109.36 dollars (£83.63).