Wall Street flat in quiet start to 2015

Wall Street stocks finished the first trading day of the new year Friday little-changed following lackluster US economic data and with many market participants still on holiday.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average advanced 9.92 points (0.06 percent) to 17,832.99.

The broad-based S&P 500 slipped 0.70 (0.03 percent) to 2,058.20, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index fell 9.24 (0.20 percent) to 4,726.81.

All three indices spent much of 2015’s first session in the red following reports that showed lower US construction spending in November and weaker manufacturing activity in December.

But stocks strengthened somewhat in the last 30 minutes, enabling the Dow to notch a small gain and cutting losses in the other two indices. Analysts said volume was light after markets closed Thursday for New Year’s Day.

“The year really starts on Monday,” said Dan Greenhaus, chief global strategist at BTIG.

The S&P 500 rose 11.4 percent in 2014, marking the third straight year with a double-digit gain.

Key challenges to more gains in 2015 include weak growth in Europe and emerging economies, the hit from sharply lower oil prices to Russia and other petroleum exporters, and the blow from any shift in the US Federal Reserve’s policy of ultra-low interest rates.

Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Rockwell Global Capital, predicted 2015 would be another good year for US stocks, but one that is also more volatile.

“We’re going to see another bull run,” he said. “However, we will see more corrections and the corrections will be steeper than they were in 2014.”

Drugstore chain Rite Aid rose 1.5 percent Friday after reporting that same-store sales increased 5.3 percent in December compared with the year-ago period.

Linn Energy rose 12.30 percent as it announced that Blackstone Group will finance drilling programs for Linn in exchange for a payout on successful wells.

Linn also cut its 2015 capital spending budget by 53 percent and said it would trim its dividend to $1.25 per share from $2.90 due to the drop in oil prices.

Bond prices rose. The yield on the 10-year US Treasury fell to 2.12 percent from 2.17 percent Wednesday, while the 30-year dropped to 2.69 percent from 2.75 percent. Bond prices and yields move inversely.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here