Belfast Telegraph

Small dip in Wall Street stocks after three days of increases

US stock indexes closed moderately lower on Friday following three days of gains.

Several technology stocks traded heavily, including Yahoo, Twitter and Facebook. Energy stocks fell along with a steep decline in the price of oil.

The Dow Jones industrial average lost 131.01 points, or 0.7%, to 18,261.45. The Standard & Poor's 500 index lost 12.49 points, or 0.6%, to 2,164.69 and the Nasdaq composite index lost 33.78, or 0.6%, to 5,305.75.

Stocks posted solid gains this week, with the S&P 500 up 1.2%, 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 US investment strategies at Allianz Global Investors.

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

Facebook fell 2.12 dollars, or 1.6%, to 127.96 dollars 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 dollars, or 3.1%, to 42.80 dollars after the company admitted the data of 500 million users was 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.

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

While stocks rose solidly this week, most of the gains were in relatively safe, dividend-rich companies that investors favour when they're uncertain about the economy. The Dow Jones utility index was up 3.3% this week, and the newly created real estate component of the S&P 500, made up of mostly real estate investment trusts, rose 4.3%.

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 dollars to 44.48 dollars a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, used to price international oils, fell 1.76 dollars to 45.89 dollars a barrel.

In other energy trading, heating oil fell five cents to 1.41 dollars per gallon, wholesale petrol fell two cents to 1.38 dollars a gallon and natural gas fell 3.5 cents to 2.955 dollars per thousand cubic feet.

Energy companies were hit hard on the reports, and the energy component of the S&P 500 lost 1.3%, much more than the broader market. Transocean, the ocean rig operator, fell 55 cents, or 6%, to 9.10 dollars.

In metals, gold fell 3.00 dollars to 1,341.70 dollars an ounce, silver fell 29 cents to 19.81 dollars an ounce and copper rose less than one cent to 2.201 dollars a pound.

The yield on the US Treasury 10-year note was little changed at 1.62%. The euro rose to 1.1231 dollars from 1.204 and the dollar edged up to 101.09 yen from 100.89 yen.