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Wall Street sees split finish amid energy dip, political uncertainty

May 27 2018 09:37

New York - Wall Street had a split finish on Friday, as energy shares slid and continued whiplash from geopolitical headlines weighed on the Dow and S&P 500 while the Nasdaq rose.

The lackluster finish came amid light trading volume ahead of a three-day holiday weekend, the traditional start of the US summer when many market players are on vacation.

Despite suffering a string of highly volatile sessions, all three major indices managed to end higher for the week thanks the rally Monday.

The benchmark Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.2% to close the week at 24 751.44, and broader S&P 500 lost the same amount to end at 2 721.26.

But chipmakers, including Broadcom Inc., which gained 2.7%, lifted the Nasdaq by 0.1% to finish at 7 433.85, putting the tech-heavy index up 0.7% for the week.

Some of Friday's declines were driven by falling energy stocks, dragged lower on reports Saudi Arabia and Russia could increase production to replace falling output in Venezuela and Iran.

Exxon Mobil fell two percent while Chevron lost 3.5%.

"The OPEC members and their partners are beginning to discuss the possibility to increase their production which is quite bearish for oil prices and the energy sector," Peter Cardillo of Spartan Capital told AFP, referring to the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries.

But Quincy Krosby, chief market strategist at Prudential Financial, said that more than reacting to oil's woes, traders were seeking to reduce their exposure to global uncertainties ahead of the holiday weekend.

"Energy stocks are much smaller in the S&P 500 than they have been in the past," he told AFP.

"You don't want to stay in the market for a long weekend with the uncertainties surrounding North Korea as well as the situation in the middle-east with Iran," he said.

"You don't want to be vulnerable."

President Donald Trump on Friday raised the possibly of pressing ahead after all with a June summit with North Korea, barely 24 hours after abruptly calling the meeting off.

That news followed quickly on the Trump administration's announcement it was considering imposing duties on auto imports, which threatens to disrupt a crucial North American industry and anger major US trading partners who are already in fraught trade talks with Washington.

Markets will be closed on Monday in observance of Memorial Day.

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