Wall St. lower a day after indexes rally


By Tanya Agrawal

U.S. stocks turned lower after a mixed opening on Friday, a day after Wall Street rallied and the Nasdaq Composite index broke its last standing milestone from the dot-com era as it set a record intraday high.

All three major indexes were still on track to end the week higher.

On Thursday, Wall Street was boosted by strong data, which pointed to signs that the U.S. economy was recovering after growth came to a halt earlier in the year.

U.S. consumer prices last month increased the most in more than two years, jobless claims applications last week fell to a near 15-year low and factory activity in the mid-Atlantic region in June accelerated to a six-month high.

The U.S. Federal Reserve’s perceived dovishness regarding the pace of a rate hike also continued to boost equities.

Investors may see a spike in volume and volatility at the open and toward the closing bell as Friday marks a “quadruple witching” day – the expiration of stock options, index options, index futures and single-stock futures – as traders close hedging positions or roll them over at the last minute.

“We might see a little bit of a rest from yesterday’s rally,” said Mark Luschini, chief investment strategist at Janney Montgomery Scott in Philadelphia.

“The kind of rally we had yesterday was as much on technical factors as fundamentals.”

At 9:45 a.m. ET the Dow Jones industrial average .DJI was down 34.33 points, or 0.19 percent, at 18,081.51, the S&P 500 .SPX was down 4.17 points, or 0.2 percent, at 2,117.07 and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC was down 8.39 points, or 0.16 percent, at 5,124.56.

Eight of the 10 major S&P 500 sectors were lower, with the utilities index .SPLRCU leading the declines, with a 0.53 percent drop.

The Greece crisis also showed no signs of receding. Euro zone leaders will hold an emergency summit on Monday to try to avert a Greek default after bank withdrawals accelerated and government revenue slumped as the debt talks drag on.

San Francisco Fed president John Williams is due to speak before the National Bureau of Economic Research East Asian Seminar on Economics in San Francisco, while Cleveland Fed president Loretta Mester is scheduled to speak before the Federal Reserve Banks of Cleveland and Philadelphia Policy Summit in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

ConAgra Foods’ (CAG.N) shares were up 6.7 percent at $41.75 after activist hedge fund Jana Partners took a stake in the company.

Macerich (MAC.N) slumped 5.7 percent to $77.72 as Simon Property Group (SPG.N) exits its ownership stake in the No.3 U.S. mall owner, sources told Reuters.

Carmax (KMX.N) fell 5 percent to $68.40 after the company’s quarterly revenue missed estimates.

Hershey (HSY.N) was down 2.4 at $91.24 after the chocolate maker trimmed its full-year sales growth forecast citing weak sales in China.

Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by 1,583 to 1,126. On the Nasdaq, 1,266 issues fell and 1,053 advanced.

The S&P 500 index showed 10 new 52-week highs and one new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 47 new highs and 10 new lows.

(Reporting by Tanya Agrawal; Editing by Don Sebastian)



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