Stocks finish mostly flat as government shutdown weighs on investors.
U.S. stocks drifted sideways on Friday, snapping a five-day winning streak as traders shifted their focus to the longest government shutdown in the nation’s history.
All of Wall Street’s major indices traded mixed-to-lower at the end of the week. The S&P 500 Index (NYSEARCA:SPY) pared losses in the final hour to finish at 2,596.26, where it was virtually unchanged. Most sectors finishing in negative territory. Shares of energy and utilities companies were the biggest laggards.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average (NYSEARCA:DIA) closed down 5.97 points, or 0.02%, to 23,995.95.
Meanwhile, the Nasdaq Composite Index finished with a loss of 0.2% at 6,971.48.
A measure of implied volatility known as the CBOE VIX (NYSEARCA:VXX) continued lower on Friday, a sign that traders were more optimistic about the near-term outlook on stocks. The so-called “investor fear index” declined 6.4% to 18.25 on a scale of 1-100 where 20 represents the historic average.
On the commodities front, oil prices traded lower on Friday as concerns about global economic health continued to linger. The West Texas Intermediate (WTI) benchmark for U.S. crude futures declined $1.13, or 2.2%, to $51.46 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. ICE Brent, the global crude benchmark, fell $1.32, or 2.1%, to $60.36 a barrel.
In economic data, U.S. consumer inflation declined as expected last month, though core prices trekked higher. The consumer price index (CPI) declined 0.1% in December and 1.9% annually, the Department of Labor reported Friday. The so-called core consumer price index climbed 0.2% on month and 2.2% annually, official data showed.
The Final Word: Despite Friday’s soft landing, stock markets are coming off a stellar week. The major indexes have recovered more than 10% from last month’s low as attention shifts back to the government shutdown in Washington.