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Dow down, but US stocks have best week of 2016

Feb 21 2016 18:59

New York - Wall Street finished its best week of 2016 on a muted note on Friday with the Dow and S&P 500 slightly negative and the Nasdaq pushing higher.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 21.44 points to 16 391.99.

The broad-based S&P 500 was essentially flat at 1 917.78, down 0.05 point, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index rose 16.89 points to 4 504.43.

Most petroleum-linked equities retreated as oil prices fell. The bigger losers included Apache Petroleum and Continental Resources, both of which fell about 4.5%.

The gains in Nasdaq reflect that "investors are concluding that a lot of the technology stocks are insulated from the vagaries of oil," said Jack Ablin, chief investment officer BMO Private Bank.

Among tech stocks, Amazon rose 1.9%, Facebook 1.1% and Priceline 2.5%.

Yahoo climbed 2.1% as it announced a committee would study the company's "strategic alternatives," moving a step closer toward a breakup or sale of the troubled internet pioneer.

Apple dipped 0.2% as US law enforcement officials sought a court order to force it to help unlock an iPhone as part of the probe into last year's San Bernardino attacks, escalating a legal showdown over encryption. Apple on Thursday said it would fight the government's demand.

Valeant Pharmaceuticals International plunged 9.7% following a harsh report from a Wells Fargo analyst who said the company could face liquidity problems and that some of its acquisitions were ill-conceived.

Agricultural equipment company Deere fell 4.2% as it projected a decline of 10% in equipment sales in 2016 after reporting a 34.2% fall in first-quarter earnings to $254.4m.

Upscale department store Nordstrom tumbled 6.7% after reporting a 29.4% drop in fourth-quarter earnings to $180m following a lackluster holiday shopping season.

Applied Materials, which provides materials engineering for semiconductors and electronic devices, jumped 7.1% after reporting earnings that bested expectations and offering a positive outlook.

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