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Wall Street ends lower in feeble end to strong week

Wall Street ends lower in feeble end to strong week

Wall Street ended lower on Friday in a feeble end to another week of strong gains after concerns about the timing of future interest rate hikes offset gains in materials and energy stocks.

The S&P utility sector led declines, down 2.73 percent. The materials index was the biggest winner and was up for the third straight day with a 1.35 percent rise.

In a break from a trend seen for much of this year, energy shares clung to gains even after a rally in crude oil prices faded, with ConocoPhillips up 3.21 percent.

The Commerce Department said gross domestic product expanded at a 1-percent annual rate in the fourth quarter, an upward revision from its previous estimate of 0.7 percent growth. The data exacerbated concerns that the US Federal Reserve could raise rates sooner rather than later. The economy grew at a rate of 2 percent in the third quarter.

Federal funds futures implied traders see a 36-percent chance of the Fed raising rates in June and 53-percent chance in December, both above Thursday’s levels, according to CME Group’s FedWatch program.

Following a steep selloff in January and a partial recovery in the past two weeks, the S&P 500 is just above its 50-day moving average for a second session, which some traders believe is a sign of improving sentiment.

But investors, shell-shocked by months of volatility, remained cautious, with decade-low oil prices, rate hikes and a potential slowdown in China’s economy still very much on their minds.

“I think we’re near the top of the roller coaster again. All of the things that made the market go wild in January are still up in the air,” said Brian Battle, director of trading at Performance Trust Capital Partners in Chicago.

In other US data, consumer spending rose strongly in January, while underlying inflation picked up by the most in four years.

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 0.34 percent to end at 16,639.97 points.

The S&P 500 lost 0.19 percent to finish at 1,948.05 after spending much of the day in positive territory.

The Nasdaq Composite added 0.18 percent to 4,590.47.

For the week, the Dow gained 1.5 percent, the S&P rose 1.6 percent and the Nasdaq added 1.9 percent. The S&P 500 is now down about 5 percent for 2016.

Shares of J.C. Penney jumped 14.71 percent after the department store operator reported better-than-expected revenue.

Baidu rose 9.87 percent after the Chinese internet search firm posted quarterly results that impressed Wall Street.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners on the NYSE by 1,894 to 1,168. On the Nasdaq, 1,780 issues rose and 973 fell.

The S&P 500 index showed 21 new 52-week highs and no new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 43 new highs and 47 new lows.

About 7.9 billion shares changed hands on US exchanges, below the 8.9 billion daily average for the past 20 trading days, according to Thomson Reuters data.


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