Stocks Close Lower On The Day But Sharply Higher For The Year

After moving modestly higher over the two previous sessions, stocks moved back to the downside during trading on Friday. The major averages slid into negative territory, although selling pressure was somewhat subdued.

The major averages saw further downside going into the close, ending the session at their worst levels of the day. The Dow dropped 118.29 points or 0.5 percent to 24,719.22, the Nasdaq slid 46.77 points or 0.7 percent to 6,903.39 and the S&P 500 fell 13.93 points or 0.5 percent to 2,673.61.

Despite the pullback on the day, the major averages moved sharply higher for the year. While the Dow surged up by 25.1 percent, the Nasdaq spiked by 28.2 percent and the S&P 500 jumped by 19.4 percent.

Stocks frequently benefit from so-called window dressing on the last day of the year, but investors may have decided to do some profit taking following the strong upward move seen in 2017.

Trading activity remained light, however, with many traders likely looking to get a head start on the New Year’s weekend. A quiet day on the U.S. economic front also kept traders on the sidelines.

Most of the major sectors showed only modest moves on the day, although significant weakness was visible among networking stocks.

The NYSE Networking Index slumped by 2 percent after ending the previous session at its best closing level in over sixteen years.

ADTRAN (ADTN) led the networking sector lower, tumbling by 13 percent after providing disappointing fourth quarter guidance.

Biotechnology, semiconductor, and electronic storage stocks also moved to the downside, weighing on the tech-heavy Nasdaq.

On the other hand oil service stocks saw some strength on the day, moving higher along with the price of crude oil, which closed above $60 a barrel for the first time in over two years.

Other Markets

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region turned in a mixed performance during trading on Friday. Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index dipped by 0.1 percent, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng…

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