US equities benchmarks wavered to almost stay flat Friday afternoon, with the Standard and Poor’s 500 on course for its biggest weekly decline since April.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average was mostly flat, losing less than 0.1% to 16,912. The S&P 500 gauge increased less than 0.1% to 1,965.
Technology firms performed better, with tech firms in the S&P 500 going up 0.3% and the tech-dominant Nasdaq Composite Index adding 15 points or 0.3% to 4411.
The S&P 500 and Nasdaq are approaching their biggest weekly losses since the week that ended April 11.
Yesterday, the Dow closed down 0.4% after recouping losses of up to 1.1% on reports that a Portuguese bank failed to meet some short-term debt obligations.
Traders said trading was quiet on Friday for absence of any significant economic reports. Equities have been dropping from last week’s record levels as investors assessed international news. Both traders and investors said that there was more intense concerns over many stocks that stayed at or above long-term valuations.
“Full valuations demand good news. They make the market susceptible to negative surprises,”Mark Luschini of Janney Montgomery Scott LLC is quoted by the Wall Street Journal as saying.
Investors are now paying attention to earning seasons. Second quarter earnings for firms in the S&P 500 are forecast to soar by about 4.6% from the previous year, according to FactSet. Companies are expected to start releasing their earnings reports in earnest next week, with more than 50 firms in the S&P 500 set to report.
“Next week is going to be a test for the market,” said strategist Quincy Krosby of Prudential Financial.
Stocks of energy companies slid, with Chevron Corp and Exxon Mobil Corp pulling the Dow lower.
According to Bloomberg, the Stoxx Europe 600 Index increased 0.2% after hitting a two-month low on Thursday.
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