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Blue Chips Fall for Second Week in a Row -- WSJ

19 Aug 2017 6:33 am

Events and earnings reports drag Dow down 0.8%; investors flee small-cap stocks
By Corrie Driebusch and Justin Yang 

This article is being republished as part of our daily reproduction of WSJ.com articles that also appeared in the U.S. print edition of The Wall Street Journal (August 19, 2017).
   -- Global stocks down following Spain attacks 
 
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The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended the week lower, capping a rocky stretch that included political turmoil, terror attacks and disappointing earnings.

Stock indexes spent much of Friday hovering between slight gains and losses, as a lack of major economic data and corporate earnings contributed to quiet trading. Then declines picked up toward the close on Friday, echoing Thursday's late-session selloff.

The Dow industrials fell 76.22 points, or 0.4%, to 21674.51 on Friday, posting a weekly decline of 0.8%. It is the second week of declines for the blue-chip index and the worst two-week percentage drop -- 1.9% -- in nearly a year. Even with the recent declines, the Dow industrials remain up 9.7% in 2017.

The S&P 500 fell 4.46 points, or 0.2%, Friday to 2425.55, while the Nasdaq Composite shed 5.39 points, or less than 0.1%, to close at 6216.53.

The Dow industrials had briefly jumped into positive territory following reports that chief strategist Steve Bannon was leaving his role at the White House. Mr. Bannon has been viewed as a controversial figure within the Trump administration.

A day earlier, the Dow industrials posted their biggest decline in three months, as Wal-Mart Stores and Cisco Systems declined following earnings reports, and investors were rattled by a terror attack in Spain and fallout from President Donald Trump's remarks on the protests in Charlottesville, Va.

"A lot of that drama isn't going to price stocks in the long term, but it does cause short-term movement," said Kenny Polcari, director at brokerage O'Neil Securities.

Corporate earnings, he added, are the important long-term drivers of share prices.

Wal-Mart shares fell on Thursday after the company said same-store sales rose but profit fell. Earlier in the week, shares of Advance Auto Parts and Dick's Sporting Goods posted their biggest percentage declines on record after the companies missed earnings expectations.

On Friday, shoe retailer Foot Locker tumbled $13.32, or 28%, to $34.38 after profit and sales failed to meet analysts' expectations. The drop, its largest decline since 2008, also weighed on competitor Finish Line, which fell 98 cents, or 8.2%, to 11.01.

In the latter part of the week, investors shifted to assets viewed as safer in times of stress, citing concerns about simmering geopolitical tensions and the Trump administration's strained relationship with business leaders.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury note slipped marginally to 2.196% Friday from 2.197% Thursday. Yields fall as prices rise.

Utilities, viewed as bond proxies for stock investors, were among the best performers in the S&P 500 on Friday.

At the same time, investors fled from smaller-company shares. The Russell 2000, a benchmark of small-cap stocks, fell 1.2% for the week. The index jumped in late 2016 as investors bet that smaller, U.S.-focused companies would benefit from Mr. Trump's policies. This year, the index has largely underperformed the broader stock market.

European markets were broadly lower Friday. The Stoxx Europe 600 slid 0.7%, while Spain's benchmark IBEX 35 dropped 0.6%.

Shares of European travel companies had some of the largest losses of the day. International Consolidated Airlines Group -- one of the biggest decliners in the U.K. -- fell 2%. Airline shares in Europe tend to experience a short-lived selloff in the wake of terror attacks as investors assess the potential for a hit to tourism. For the week, the Stoxx Europe 600 rose 0.6%.

In Asian trading, markets were lower Friday, with financial shares among the region's biggest decliners.

Japan's Nikkei Stock Average fell 1.2%, putting its weekly loss at 1.3%, its largest since mid-May.

Write to Corrie Driebusch at corrie.driebusch@wsj.com
 

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

August 19, 2017 02:33 ET (06:33 GMT)

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