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Wall St ends flat as Oracle takes air out of Alibaba debut

Wall St ends flat as Oracle takes air out of Alibaba debut

US stocks closed little changed on Friday after Alibaba’s strong debut was offset by falling technology shares as Oracle and Yahoo stumbled, but the Dow managed to edge higher to set a record for a second straight session.

Alibaba took the spotlight after its initial public offering priced at USD 68 a share and rose as high as USD 99.70 before ending the session up 38 percent to USD 93.89. Shares of Yahoo, which is selling part of its Alibaba stake but will remain a top shareholder, were volatile in heavy volume and closed down 2.7 percent at USD 40.93.

“Alibaba was awesome. The Alibaba deal was done correctly, which is, you leave something on the table for investors to enjoy,” said Phil Orlando, chief equity market strategist at Federated Investors in New York.

“So the market got to focus on Alibaba, which was a positive.”

But technology shares weighed on the S&P 500 with Oracle down after Larry Ellison, co-founder and leader for 37 years, stepped aside as chief executive. He will be replaced by co-CEOs Safra Catz and Mark Hurd, raising questions about a job-sharing arrangement that has had a mixed record elsewhere.

Oracle shares lost 4.2 percent to USD 39.80 as the biggest drag on the S&P 500 while the S&P technology index was the worst performing of the 10 major S&P sectors.

The Dow Jones industrial average gained 13.75 points, or 0.08 percent, to 17,279.74, the S&P 500 lost 0.96 points, or 0.05 percent, to 2,010.40, and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 13.64 points, or 0.3 percent, to 4,579.79.

Volume was heavy, with about 8.68 billion shares traded on US exchanges, well above the 5.71 billion average so far this month, according to data from BATS Global Markets. Aside from Alibaba, volume also received a boost from “quadruple witching,” the expiration of futures and options for indexes and stocks.

Dresser-Rand jumped 9.4 percent to USD 79.91 after a report Germany’s Siemens plans to offer more than USD 6.1 billion, or USD 80 per share, for the US compressor and turbine maker.

Among the most active stocks on the NYSE were Alibaba, Coca-Cola Co, up 0.62 percent to USD 42.05, and Bank Of America, down 0.53 percent to USD 16.95.

On the Nasdaq, Yahoo, Microsoft, up 1.8 percent to USD 47.52 and Sirius XM, down 1.8 percent to USD 3.57 were among the most actively traded.

Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by 1,824 to 1,180, for a 1.55-to-1 ratio on the downside; on the Nasdaq, 1,796 issues fell and 951 advanced for a 1.89-to-1 ratio favoring decliners.

The benchmark S&P 500 index posted 75 new 52-week highs and 9 new lows; the Nasdaq Composite had 88 new highs and 117 new lows.

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