Stocks finish lower in final session of the week as geopolitics weigh.
U.S. stocks ended a turbulent week on the back foot, a sign that geopolitical tensions were weighing on investor sentiment.
The large-cap S&P 500 Index (NYSEARCA:SPY) declined 0.3% to close at 2,656.30, with seven of 11 sectors contributing to the declines.
Financials stocks reported outsized losses, falling 1.7% as a sector. Shares of information technology companies and consumer discretionary firms also posted sharp losses.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average (NYSEARCA:DIA) fell 122.91 points, or 0.5%, to 24,360.14. The majority of the Dow’s 30 Index members finished lower.
Meanwhile, the technology-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index (NYSEARCA:QQQ) closed down 0.5% at 7,106.65.
A measure of 30-day volatility known as the CBOE VIX (NYSEARCA:VXX) declined on Friday, signaling renewed calm on Wall Street. The so-called “fear index” traded within a narrow range and settled at 17.41, which is below the historical average. In usual circumstances, volatility rises when the S&P 500 Index falls.
In commodities, oil prices surged to more than three-year highs on Friday, as Mideast tensions continue to generate supply risks. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) rose 17 cents, or 0.3%, to $6724 a barrel. ICE Brent futures added 43 cents, or 0.6%, to $72.45 a barrel.
The Final Word: Even with geopolitical tensions in the mix, stocks managed to put up firm gains this week. The bulls are now counting on corporate earnings to do much of the heavy lifting. According to various estimates, Q1 results are expected to be the strongest in seven years.