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U.S. Stocks Finish Lackluster Session Modestly Lower

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Following the notable upward move seen over the past few sessions, stocks showed a lack of direction over the course of the trading day on Friday. The major averages spent the day bouncing back and forth across the unchanged line.

Reflecting a late move to the downside, the major averages ended the day modestly lower. The Dow edged down 34.04 points or 0.1 percent to 26,719.13, the Nasdaq slipped 19.63 points or 0.2 percent to 8,031.71 and the S&P 500 dipped 3.72 points or 0.1 percent to 2,950.46.

Despite the slight pullback on the day, the major averages moved significantly higher for the week. The Nasdaq surged up by 3 percent, while the Dow and the S&P 500 jumped by 2.4 percent and 2.2 percent, respectively.

The choppy trading on Wall Street came as traders expressed some uncertainty about the near-term outlook for the markets after the S&P 500 ended the previous session at a record closing high.

Traders were looking ahead to next week's G20 summit in Japan, where Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping are due to meet in an effort to revive trade talks.

The outcome of the Trump-Xi meeting could have a significant impact on the perception of the likelihood for an eventual U.S.-China trade deal.

Traders also seemed cautious amid escalating tensions between the U.S. and Iran after Iran's Revolutionary Guard shot down an unmanned U.S. surveillance drone on Thursday.

President Donald Trump has revealed he was just minutes away from launching a retaliatory attack on Iran before calling off the strikes.

"We were cocked & loaded to retaliate last night on 3 different sights when I asked, how many will die. 150 people, sir, was the answer from a General," Trump said in post on Twitter.

"10 minutes before the strike I stopped it, not proportionate to shooting down an unmanned drone," he added. "I am in no hurry, our Military is rebuilt, new, and ready to go, by far the best in the world."

The Trump administration has claimed the drone was over international waters when it was shot down, although Iran's Revolutionary Guard has argued the drone was flying over Iranian territory.

Sector News

Most of the major sectors ended the day showing only modest moves, although substantial weakness was visible among tobacco stocks.

Reflecting the weakness in the tobacco sector, the NYSE Arca Tobacco Index plunged by 1.9 percent to a four-month closing low.

Telecom and networking stocks also moved notably lower, dragging both the NYSE Arca North American Telecom Index and the NYSE Arca Networking Index down by 1.3 percent.

While housing and commercial real estate stocks also moved to the downside on the day, some strength emerged among utilities stocks.

Other Markets

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region turned in a mixed performance during trading on Friday. Japan's Nikkei 225 Index slumped by 1 percent, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index fell by 0.3 percent.

Meanwhile, the major European markets saw modest weakness on the day. While the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index dipped by 0.2 percent, the German DAX Index and the French CAC 40 Index both edged down by 0.1 percent.

In the bond market, treasuries gave back ground after moving significantly higher over the past few sessions. Subsequently, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, climbed 6.7 basis points to 2.068 percent.

Looking Ahead

Developments overseas may attract attention next week along with reports on new home sales, consumer confidence, durable goods orders, and personal income and spending.

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