The stock market meandered in a narrow range through the abbreviated Friday session, ending the day and the week on a flat note. The S&P 500 added 0.1% today, ending the week higher by two points (+0.1%).
Unsurprisingly, the Friday session was very quiet with trading volume running well below average. To that point, only 378 million shares changed hands at the NYSE floor. The lack of activity in the U.S. masked a relatively busy overnight session that featured a 5.5% dive in China's Shanghai Composite after regulators expanded their investigation into major securities brokers, including Citic Securities.
Once the focus shifted to the Wall Street session, equities ticked lower due to relative weakness in consumer discretionary (-0.4%) and energy (-0.7%), but gains in the remaining sectors offset the softness in the two cyclical groups.
Media names kept the discretionary sector under pressure with Dow component Disney (DIS 115.13, -3.54) falling 3.0% to mid-November levels. Meanwhile, the energy sector retreated as crude oil fell 2.5% to $41.97/bbl.
On the upside, the consumer staples sector (+0.4%) held the lead throughout the session while top-weighted technology (+0.2%) and financials (+0.2%) also finished ahead of the broader market. Chipmakers underpinned the tech sector after NXP Semiconductor (NXPI 88.36, +3.82) received clearance from the Federal Trade Commission to continue its acquisition of Freescale Semiconductor (FSL 37.35, +1.45). The two names surged 4.6% and 4.0%, respectively, while the PHLX Semiconductor Index spiked 0.7%.
Treasuries held gains during overnight action, but they returned to little changed intraday with the 10-yr yield at 2.23%.
Investors did not receive any economic data today; however, Monday will include a couple releases with November Chicago PMI (Briefing.com consensus 55.0) and October Pending Home Sales (consensus 0.7%) set to be reported at 9:45 ET and 10:00 ET, respectively.
Week in Review: Stocks Hold Ground
The stock market began the trading week on a cautious note with the S&P 500 shedding 0.1%. The benchmark index surrendered its opening gain, ending in the middle of its trading range while the Dow (-0.2%) and Nasdaq (-0.1%) registered comparable losses. Equities climbed at the start with the early move supported by three sectors in particular. The energy sector (+0.7%) displayed some early volatility, but ended among the leaders even though crude oil slipped 0.3% to $41.78/bbl after making a brief appearance above $42.50/bbl. WTI crude briefly spiked in the morning after Saudi officials indicated their intent to stabilize the global energy market, but the energy component was back near its flat line in short order. Elsewhere among cyclical sectors, consumer discretionary (+0.4%) and materials (+0.1%) also settled ahead of the broader market. The discretionary sector benefitted from strength among retailers with SPDR S&P Retail ETF (XRT 44.58, +0.42) climbing 1.0%.
Tuesday ended on a flat note with stocks overcoming an opening retreat that was fueled by a military incident, which is likely to invite geopolitical implications going forward. The S&P 500 added 0.1% while the Nasdaq Composite (unch) underperformed. Early in the morning, it was reported that the Turkish military shot down a Russian fighter jet, which allegedly violated Turkish airspace on the country's border with Syria. This marked the first time that a NATO member downed a Russian plane since the 1950s. After initial confusion, Russian military officials said that one pilot was rescued while the other was killed by Syrian opposition fighters after ejecting from the plane. The Russian defense ministry called the incident a "hostile act" while President Vladimir Putin terminated all Russian military cooperation with Turkey. Mr. Putin denied the incursion into Turkey, saying the action represented "backstabbing by accomplices of terrorists" and that it "goes beyond [the] fight against terror." The news was met with a spike in Treasuries and the 10-yr note then notched a new high shortly after the release of the second estimate of Q3 GDP (+2.1%; Briefing.com consensus +2.0%); however, the 10-yr note spent the rest of the day in a slow retreat from morning highs to end with a small gain that lowered the benchmark yield one basis point to 2.24%.
The stock market ended Wednesday on a flat note with trading volume running well below average as some market participants got an early jump on the Thanksgiving holiday. The S&P 500 settled just below its flat line while the Nasdaq Composite (+0.3%) outperformed. Investors received a boatload of economic data in the morning, but there was little response in the market as stocks opened flat and inched higher to establish narrow trading ranges that held throughout the day. For instance, the S&P 500 spent the session in a seven-point range with seven sectors offsetting gains in three groups that outperformed throughout the day. Heavily-weighted health care (+0.5%) and consumer discretionary (+0.5%) seized the lead in the early going and held their ground into the close. The health care sector received support from biotechnology, evidenced by a 1.1% spike in iShares Nasdaq Biotechnology ETF (IBB 338.85, +3.58).
Bond and equity markets were closed on Thursday for Thanksgiving.
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