Stocks pull back from record highs, with financials leading the decline.
The U.S. stock market drifted lower on Friday, dragged down by financials and industrials companies after a return to record highs on Thursday.
All of Wall Street’s major indices finished in negative territory. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DIA) declined 133.81 points, or 0.5%, to 28,823.09.
The broader S&P 500 Index (SPY) of large-cap stocks declined 0.3% to close at 3,265.33. Eight of 11 primary sectors recorded declines, with financials leading the market lower. Energy and industrials stocks also under-performed the market.
Meanwhile, the technology-focused Nasdaq Composite Index (QQQ) fell 0.3% to settle at 9,178.86.
A measure of implied volatility known as the CBOE VIX (VXX) hovered within a narrow range on Friday, which indicates calm trading conditions on Wall Street. The so-called “investor fear index” traded between 12.09 and 12.87 on a scale of 1-100 where 20 represents the historic average. VIX would eventually settle at 12.74, up 1.6% on the day.
In economic data, U.S. employers added 145,000 workers to payrolls in December, fewer than the 164,000 expected, the Department of Labor reported Friday. The November hiring rate was revised down to reflect a gain of 256,000 from 266,000 reported previously.
The unemployment rate held steady at 3.5%, a nearly five-decade low. Average hourly earnings edged up 0.1% on month and 2.9% annually, official data showed.
The Final Word: President Trump has managed to diffuse tensions with Iran, but strained geopolitical tensions in the region could erupt at any time. Under this environment, volatility may rear its ugly head in the near future.