published on December 27, 2019 - 1:11 PM
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Major U.S. stock indexes are closing nearly flat Friday as the market retreats slightly from its latest highs. Even so, the S&P 500 notched its fifth-straight weekly gain. Retailers and other companies that rely on consumer spending led the rise. Technology stocks also rose. Those gains were checked by losses in banks and communication services companies. The S&P 500 was unchanged. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.1%, while the Nasdaq composite slipped 0.2%.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. AP’s earlier story follows below.

Major U.S. stock indexes were mixed in afternoon trading Friday as the market retreated slightly from its latest highs.

Retailers and other companies that rely on consumer spending led the gainers. Technology stocks also rose. Those gains were checked by losses in financial, energy and communication services companies.

Even so, the S&P 500 was on pace for its fifth-straight weekly gain. With less than three trading days left in 2019, the benchmark index is on track for its best year since 2013 and within striking distance of its biggest annual gain since 1997.

A truce in the 17-month U.S.-China trade war and positive signs for the economy have helped keep investors in a buying mood. Fears about a possible recession have also faded since the summer after the Federal Reserve cut interest rates three times. The central bank appears set to keep them low for a long time.

Still, as the market prepares to close out a strong year of gains next week, uncertainty remains over the final details of the “Phase 1” trade deal and whether Washington and Beijing will be able to resolve remaining differences not addressed by the initial pact. Next year also has the added complication of the U.S. presidential election.

KEEPING SCORE: The S&P 500 was up 0.1% as of 2:40 p.m. Eastern time. The index has finished with a weekly gain in 10 out of the past 11 weeks. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 59 points, or 0.2%, to 28,680. The Nasdaq composite slipped 0.1%, while the Russell 2000 index of smaller company stocks dropped 0.4%.

TURBULENCE: Several airlines fell. American Airlines Group was the biggest decliner in the S&P 500, shedding 4.4%. Southwest Airlines dropped 1.4% and Delta Air Lines lost 1.1%.

RETAILERS RULE: Several retailers rose as the sectorcontinued to rally a day after a report showed a surge in last-minute online holiday shopping. Ulta Beauty gained 1% and Dollar General rose 0.8%.

EXECUTIVE SHUFFLE: Shares in Michaels Cos. vaulted 33.6% after the arts and crafts retailer hired an executive from Walmart to be CEO.

KNEEDED THIS: Flexion Therapeutics jumped 7.5% after the FDA approved its application to update the label of its Zilretta osteoarthritis knee pain drug.

SWEETER OFFER: Anixter International climbed 3.5% after the supplier of communication and security products received a sweetened buyout offer from Wesco International.

BOND YIELDS: Bond prices rose. The 10-year Treasury yield fell to 1.87% from 1.90% late Thursday.

ENERGY: Oil prices rebounded from an early stumble. Benchmark U.S. crude rose 1 cent to $61.74 per barrel. Brent crude, used to price international oils, gained 3 cents to $66.94 per barrel.

Energy stocks were mixed. ConocoPhillips rose 0.3%, while Marathon Oil slid 1.1%.

MARKETS OVERSEAS: European markets closed mostly higher. Earlier in Asia, Hong Kong finished with gains and Tokyo declined.

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