Stocks Inch Higher in Quiet Trading 11/27 13:06
Stocks finished mostly higher Friday as they wrapped up a quiet week of
NEW YORK (AP) -- Stocks finished mostly higher Friday as they wrapped up a
quiet week of trading.
The Standard & Poor's 500 index fluctuated early on, but managed to eke out
a small gain as telecommunications and financial stocks rose. Disney dragged
down the Dow Jones industrial average after the company said ESPN lost 3
million subscribers in the last year. Oil prices slumped, dragging down energy
The Dow fell 14.90 points, or 0.1 percent, to 17,798.49. The S&P 500 picked
up 1.24 points, or less than 0.1 percent, to 2,090.11. The Nasdaq composite
index added 11.38 points, or 0.2 percent, to 5,127.52.
U.S. markets were closed Thursday for the Thanksgiving holiday, and closed
at 1 p.m. on Friday.
Stocks didn't have much momentum in a week of light trading. The market made
its biggest weekly gain of 2015 last week, but this week the Dow fell 0.1
percent and the S&P 500 rose less than 0.1 percent.
Oil prices dropped. Benchmark U.S. crude fell $1.33, or 3.1 percent, to
$41.71 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, a benchmark for international oils,
gave up 60 cents, or 1.3 percent, to $44.86 a barrel in London.
The largest losers on the S&P 500 were energy stocks. Consol Energy lost 52
cents, or 6.5 percent, to $7.48 and Southwestern Energy gave up 68 cents, or
7.2 percent, to $8.74.
Prudential Financial market strategist Quincy Krosby said oil prices gained
a premium this week because of geopolitical concerns like increased military
action against the Islamic State and growing tensions between Russia and Turkey
after Turkey shot down a Russian fighter plane on Tuesday.
Krosby said those gains may not last long. Next week OPEC will hold a
meeting in Vienna, and the group could send oil prices higher by deciding to
cut back on production. Or, it could decide to keep producing oil at its
present rate, which might make prices fall further.
That premium on the price of oil "can move up dramatically but also come
down or dissipate just as quickly," Krosby said.
Disney fell $3.54, or 3 percent, to $115.13, its biggest one-day loss since
August. Late Wednesday, Disney disclosed that U.S. subscribers to its ESPN
sports channel fell for the second year in a row, to 92 million as of Oct. 3,
matching the lowest total since 2006. ESPN's subscriber totals had hovered
around 100 million for years.
Disney has said that ESPN has lost subscribers, but investors appeared
shaken by the size of the losses. Small but growing numbers of people are
opting out of traditional cable TV bundles and buying smaller, less expensive
groups of channels instead. Investors in media companies are worried about
potential losses of subscribers and revenue.
A dispute over the health and mental capacity of media mogul Sumner Redstone
hit shares of Viacom, the owner of media properties including Paramount
Pictures, Comedy Central, MTV and Nickelodeon. In a lawsuit filed Wednesday,
Manuela Herzer, Redstone's former companion, said the 92-year-old executive
can't make informed decisions anymore and needs medical care at all times.
Lawyers for Redstone, who controls the shareholder vote at Viacom as well as at
CBS, disputed the claims.
Viacom's Class B shares fell $1.19, or 2.3 percent, to $51.16.
Spam maker Hormel didn't miss a beat over the holiday break, rising $1.46,
or 2 percent, to $75.01. Earlier this week Hormel posted strong-quarterly
results and announced a planned stock split. Its shares rose 10 percent this
Hewlett Packard Enterprise also continued to rise. The technology services
company, formerly part of Hewlett-Packard, saw an increase in sales of
data-center hardware during the fourth quarter. Its shares added 23 cents, or
1.3 percent, to $14.35 after picking up 3 percent Wednesday.
Retail stocks didn't move much on Black Friday, when millions of shoppers
hit the stores in search of bargains. Target rose 28 cents to $73.44 and
Wal-Mart Stores dipped 35 cents to $59.89. Amazon fell $2.08 to $673.26.
In other energy trading, wholesale gasoline fell 0.6 cents to $1.391 a
gallon. Heating oil fell 5 cents, or 3.6 percent, to $1.352 a gallon. Natural
gas inched up 0.6 cents to $2.206 per 1,000 cubic feet.
Gold fell $13.80, or 1.3 percent, to $1,056.20 an ounce. Silver declined 15
cents, or 1.1 percent, to $14.008 an ounce. Copper inched up 0.5 cents to
$2.051 a pound.
U.S. government bond prices rose. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note
fell to 2.22 percent from 2.24 percent late Wednesday. The euro fell to $1.0597
from $1.0617 and dollar rose to 122.84 yen from 122.72 yen.