US stocks finish VOLATILE week on down note

NEW YORK – Wall Street stocks ended a volatile week on a down note on Friday (Sep 16), with weakness in energy, industrials and financials pushing the overall markets lower.

Key factors behind the decline included a drop in oil prices and negative sentiment towards banks, in part because of the dimming odds for a Federal Reserve interest rate hike next week.

Technology shares generally outperformed the broader market, with Amazon climbing 1.1 per cent to US$778.29 following an RBC Capital Markets note that set a US$1,000 target for shares.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 88.68 points (0.49 per cent) to 18,123.80.

The broad-based S&P 500 dropped 8.10 points (0.38 per cent) to 2,139.16, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index slipped 5.12 points (0.10 per cent) to 5,244.57.

Petroleum-linked shares mostly declined on lower oil prices, with Dow member Chevron losing 1.7 per cent, Halliburton 1.8 per cent and Transocean 1.2 per cent.

Financials were also under pressure. US shares of Deutsche Bank sank 9.4 per cent on news that US authorities are seeking up to US$14 billion to resolve allegations stemming from the sale of mortgage securities in the 2008 crisis.

Wells Fargo dropped 1.6 per cent after the House Financial Services committee became the latest entity to announce an investigation into allegations that the huge US bank fraudulently opened millions of unauthorised customer accounts. The panel plans hearings this month.

Citigroup lost 1.4 per cent following a downgrade by Goldman Sachs.

Twitter rose 4.4 per cent on positive reviews of its first-ever live streaming of a National Football League game on Thursday night.

Dow member Intel rose 3.0 per cent after it lifted its forecast for third-quarter revenues, citing a pickup in demand for personal computers.

Other technology companies to rise included Netflix, up 2.2 per cent, and Tesla Motors, up 2.5 per cent. Apple fell 0.6 per cent, ending a four-day streak of gains that lifted shares by 12.1 per cent.

Oracle shares dropped 4.8 per cent as the software giant reported earnings that translated into 55 cents per share, three cents below analyst expectations. Oracle blamed an unexpectedly large negative impact from currency movements due largely to the fall in the pound following the British vote to exit the European Union.
– AFP/ec