4:10 pm : Stocks entered the weekend on a mixed note as the S&P 500 shed 0.1% while the Dow ended with a gain of 0.1%.
The major averages began the day on a lower note as nine of ten sectors saw losses of more than 0.5%.
The consumer staples sector was the lone exception as the group spent the entire day in positive territory thanks to the relative strength of Dow component Procter & Gamble (PG 81.89, +3.19). The second-largest staple stock advanced 4.1% after the company reaffirmed its fourth quarter guidance and named Alan Lafley President, Chairman, and Chief Executive Officer. Mr. Lafley had previously served as company President and CEO from 2000 to 2009.
With light volume ahead of the holiday weekend, the broader market drifted back towards yesterday's closing levels. However, the S&P was kept from turning positive by the underperformance of influential sectors.
The energy space lost 0.4% as crude oil shed 0.4% to end at $93.92. Meanwhile, the other commodity-related sector, materials, slipped 0.3% as steelmakers lagged. The Market Vectors Steel ETF (SLX 41.67, -0.42) ended lower by 1.0%.
Industrials also pressured the broader market as transportation-related names sold off. Relative weakness in truckers, delivery services, and shippers caused the Dow Jones Transportation Average to lose 0.5%. However, another industrial subgroup, defense stocks, fared relatively well as the PHLX Defense Index rose 0.1%.
Cyclical groups saw comparable losses in early action. However, the financial sector displayed some afternoon strength as major banks registered gains. As a result, the sector ended with a slim gain of 0.1%.
Today's biggest laggards could be