NEW YORK, N.Y. – U.S. stocks took small losses in quiet trading Friday as energy companies sank with the price of oil, but the market finished higher for the week.
The price of oil fell 3 per cent and made energy companies the worst performing sector of the market. Utility companies rose as bond yields decreased, and metals and mining companies rose as gold and silver prices edged higher.
For the week, the market was propelled higher by quarterly financial results from big banks that were less ugly than investors were bracing for. The market quieted, though, toward the end of the week.
“We’re in a wait and see market,” said Kate Warne, investment strategist for Edward Jones. “People are still skeptical about earnings growth in the first quarter, but there’s no longer the grave concern there was a few weeks ago.”
The Dow Jones industrial average fell 28.97 points Friday, or 0.2 per cent, to 17,897.46. The Dow rose 1.8 per cent for the week. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index lost 2.05 points Friday, or 0.1 per cent, to 2,080.73 but finished the week up 1.6 per cent. The Nasdaq composite index dipped 7.67 points, or 0.2 per cent, to 4,938.22. For the week it was up 1.8 per cent.
U.S. crude fell $1.14 to $40.36 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, the international benchmark, lost 74 cents, or 1.7 per cent, to $43.10 a barrel in London. The prices of wholesale gasoline, heating oil and natural gas also slumped.
Ministers from major oil-producing countries will meet this weekend in Qatar to discuss their production policies. The price of oil has risen in recent weeks in part on hopes that those countries will be able to strike a deal that will limit oil production and help relieve a global glut. But a deal is far from a sure thing, and oil prices have slipped in recent days.
“Many of us are skeptical about whether there will be an agreement and even more skeptical about whether that will stabilize oil prices where they are now,” Warne said, because even if countries keep oil production near current levels, they’ll still be producing more than necessary to meet demand.
Occidental Petroleum lost $2.17, or 2.9 per cent, to $72.15. EOG Resources fell $2.10, or 2.7 per cent, to $75.71.
Utility companies, the best performing group of stocks on the market this year, made the largest gains Friday. Investors are being drawn to their relatively high dividend payouts because rising bond prices are lowering the yields investors can earn from bonds. Edison International rose $1.02, or 1.5 per cent, to $71.06 and NextEra Energy rose $1.28, or 1.1 per cent, to $117.43.
Bond prices rose and the yield on the 10-year U.S. Treasury note declined to 1.75 per cent from 1.79 per cent.
Citigroup said Friday its first quarter profit shrank 27 per cent on weak results from its consumer bank and trading businesses, but the bank’s net income and revenue were greater than expected. The stock fell 6 cents to $44.92, but still finished the week 11 per cent higher. Bank holding company Regions Financial also reported a bigger profit and greater revenue than expected. Its stock added 26 cents, or 3.1 per cent, to $8.74.
The price of gold and silver both edged upward, which gave metals and mining companies a boost. Gold gained $8.10 to $1,234.60 an ounce, while silver rose 14 cents to $16.31 an ounce. Copper lost 2 cents to $2.15 a pound. Newmont Mining added 69 cents, or 2.4 per cent, to $29.37 and Freeport-McMoRan picked up 13 cents, or 1.2 per cent, to $10.86.
In other energy trading, wholesale gasoline slipped 4 cents, or 2.9 per cent, to $1.46 a gallon and heating oil decreased 2 cents, or 1.8 per cent, to $1.23 a gallon. Natural gas fell 7 cents, or 3.5 per cent, to $1.90 per 1,000 cubic feet.
China reported that its economy grew 6.7 per cent in the first quarter of 2016. While that is the slowest pace in years, it matched analyst projections.
Germany’s DAX fell 0.4 per cent and the CAC-40 in France was 0.4 per cent lower. The FTSE 100 index of leading British shares declined 0.3 per cent. The benchmark Nikkei 225 index in Japan shed 0.4 per cent, while South Korean Kospi dipped 0.1 per cent. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng slipped 0.1 per cent.
The euro rose to $1.1288 from $1.1267 and the dollar fell to 108.70 yen from 109.28 yen.
AP Markets Writer Marley Jay can be reached at http://twitter.com/MarleyJayAP His work can be found at http://bigstory.ap.org/journalist/marley-jay