U.S. stocks remain relatively flat, following soft economic data
Investing.com -- U.S. stocks remained relatively flat on Friday one session after the major indices surged into record territory, amid continuing soft economic data.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average and NASDAQ Composite index each moved by less than 0.15% on the final day of trading this week, while the S&P Composite index inched up one day after surging to an all-time record closing high. The Dow gained 20.32 or 0.11% to 18,272.56 on the session, edging up by less than 1% for the week. While the NASDAQ lost 2.51 points or 0.05% on Friday, it still closed at 5,048.29 to remain above the symbolic 5,000 level for the second straight week.
The S&P 500 gained 1.63 or 0.08% to 2,122.73, as seven of 10 sectors closed in the green. Stocks in the Utilities and Consumer Services and sectors led, each closing higher by more than 0.65%. Stocks in the Utilities, Financial and Technology industries lagged, moving lower for the session.
Consumer confidence, one of the lone bright spot in the U.S. economy in recent weeks, appears to have peaked. On Friday, the University of Michigan reported that its Consumer Sentiment Index plunged to 88.6, far below low consensus estimates of a 93.5 reading. In terms of current conditions, the survey indicated a drop of 7.2% to 99.8, the lowest level since October. Consumer expectations are comparatively bleak, falling 7.3% from the last reading to 81.5, the worst level in five months.
The top performer on the Dow on Friday was Cisco Systems Inc (NASDAQ:CSCO), which gained 0.5 points or 1.72% to 29.55. The worst performer was Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT), which fell 0.43 or 0.87% to 48.30.
The biggest gainer on the NASDAQ was Bed Bath & Beyond Inc (NASDAQ:BBBY), which rose 3.70 or 5.31% to 73.35. Netflix Inc (NASDAQ:NFLX) surged 26.40 or 4.50% to 613.25, eclipsing the $600 level for the first time. On Friday, the Wall Street Journal reported that the company's discussions with several Chinese Broadcast Networks to bring the streaming service to the Asian nation are still in its early phases. Shares in Netflix are up a staggering 68% over the last 52 weeks. The worst performer was Keurig Green Mountain Inc (NASDAQ:GMCR) which plunged 8.82 or 8.55% to 94.26, after reports surfaced that the launch of its new cold brewing machine will be delayed.
The top performer on the S&P 500 was PEPCO Holdings Inc (NYSE:POM), which gained 2.19 or 8.83% to 27.00 after its $6.8 billion merger with Chicago-based energy generator and distributor Exelon Corporation (NYSE:EXC) was conditionally approved by the Maryland Public Service Commission. The deal has been approved by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, but still needs to be authorized by officials in the District of Columbia. Exelon, the largest operator of power plants in the nation, gained 0.96 or 2.86% to 34.50. Keurig was also the worst performer on the S&P 500, just below Symantec Corporation (NASDAQ:SYMC), which fell 1.42 or 5.48% to 24.48.
Shares in Avon Products (NYSE:AVP) fell by more than 1.5% one day after surging roughly 20%, following a hoax acquisition attempt by a nonexistent company claiming to be based in a remote island in the Indian Ocean. The Securities and Exchange Commission said Friday it is investigating the fake takeover bid, according to Bloomberg.
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