Plus   Neg

U.S. Stocks Give Back Ground In Abbreviated Trading Session

wallstreet july20 29nov19 lt

After trending higher over the past several sessions, stocks gave back some ground during an abbreviated trading day on Friday. The major averages all moved to the downside, pulling back off Wednesday's record closing highs.

The major averages ended the session just off their worst levels of the day. The Dow fell 112.59 points or 0.4 percent to 28,051.41, the Nasdaq slid 39.70 points or 0.5 percent to 8,665.47 and the S&P 500 dropped 12.65 points or 0.4 percent to 3,140.98.

Despite the pullback on the day, the major averages still moved higher for the week. The Nasdaq surged up by 1.7 percent, the S&P 500 jumped by 1 percent and the Dow climbed by 0.6 percent.

The weakness on Wall Street came as traders cashed in on recent gains amid concerns rising tensions between the U.S. and China over the situation in Hong Kong could impact ongoing trade talks.

After President Donald Trump signed two bills in support of pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong, a spokesman for China's Foreign Ministry threatened strong countermeasures.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang accused the U.S. of interfering in China's internal affairs and violating international law and the basic norms governing international relations.

"China will take strong counter-measures in response to the U.S. behavior that interferes in China's internal affairs and undermines China's interests," Geng said.

"No one shall underestimate China's determination in safeguarding national sovereignty, security and development interests," he added. "Nor shall they misjudge China's resolve in implementing the 'one country, two systems' principle and in upholding prosperity and stability in Hong Kong."

With a fresh round of protests expected over the weekend, the dispute over the situation in Hong Kong could potentially derail the long-awaited phase one trade deal.

Trading activity remained relatively light, however, with many traders still away from their desks following the Thanksgiving Day holiday on Thursday.

A lack of major U.S. economic data is also kept some traders on the sidelines along with the early close for the markets, which came at 1 pm ET.

Sector News

Energy stocks saw substantial weakness on the day, with a steep drop by the price of crude oil weighing on the sector. Crude for January delivery has plunged $2.58 to $55.53 a barrel amid news of the resignation of Iraq's Prime Minister.

Reflecting the weakness in the energy sector, the NYSE Arca Natural Gas Index has plummeted by 2.2 percent and the Philadelphia Oil Service Index has tumbled by 1.9 percent.

Steel and semiconductor stocks also saw considerable weakness, while gold stocks moved sharply higher amid a notable increase by the price of the precious metal.

With gold for February delivery climbing $9.50 to $1,470.30 an ounce, the NYSE Arca Gold Bugs Index surged up by 2.4 percent.

Other Markets

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region moved mostly lower during trading on Friday. Japan's Nikkei 225 Index fell by 0.5 percent, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index plunged by 2 percent.

The major European markets also moved to the downside on the day. While the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index slid by 0.9 percent, the French CAC 40 Index and the German DAX Index are both edged down by 0.1 percent.

In the bond market, treasuries have climbed off their worst levels of the day but remain slightly lower. As a result, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, is up nearly a basis point at 1.776 percent.

Looking Ahead

News on the trade front is likely to remain in focus next week, although traders are also likely to keep a close eye on the Labor Department's monthly jobs report.

Trading could also be impacted by reaction to reports on manufacturing and service sector activity, the U.S. trade deficit, and consumer sentiment.

For comments and feedback contact: editorial@rttnews.com

Follow RTT