Stocks moved lower after two days of record closes for the Nasdaq amid relief over the Federal Reserve's patience on raising interest rates.
The S&P 500 was down 0.26%, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.3%, and the Nasdaq slipped 0.3%. Stocks extended modest losses as the morning session wore on.
Technical analyst Guy Ortmann wrote this morning on Real Money Pro, TheStreet's premium site for active traders and professional investors, that some oscillators "have crept into overbought territory, causing us to temper our enthusiasm for the near term." Click here for details (subscription required after a 14-day free trial).
Stocks have rallied since Wednesday when the Fed opted to leave rates unchanged for another month and underlined that while the case for an interest rate hike had strengthened, caution had prevailed. The dot-plot forecast and comments from Fed Chair Janet Yellen supported the case for gradual tightening after a small increase in rates this December, as is widely anticipated.
The majority of investors are now pricing in the likelihood of a rate hike in December. Chances are now at 52%, according to CME Group fed funds futures, up from 48% before the announcement on Wednesday. A number of Fed bank presidents will be pressed to justify the decision to delay a hike when they meet on Friday. Regional Fed presidents including Philadelphia's Patrick Harker, Atlanta's Dennis Lockhart and Cleveland's Loretta Mester will address a panel discussing the central bank's role and responsibilities in Philadelphia on Friday.
The manufacturing sector remained sluggish in September as a strong dollar and weak global demand impeded activity. The Markit flash U.S. manufacturing PMI fell to 51.4 in September, a three-month low, down from 52 a month earlier. The measure remained above the 50-mark separating expansion from contraction.
Crude oil prices fluctuated on Friday on Reuters reports that Saudi Arabia is willing to reduce oil output if Iran freezes its own this year. Members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries have recently flirted with the idea of a production freeze agreement, but have been reluctant to cede market share. Major oil producers will convene in Algeria next week to discuss a supply glut.
West Texas Intermediate crude fell 0.6% to $46.04 a barrel on Friday.
Twitter (TWTR) - Get Report was a bright spot in a tech sector under pressure on Friday. The social network rocketed nearly 20% higher on reports it is close to securing a buyout offer. Potential buyers include Salesforce (CRM) - Get Report and Alphabet's Google (GOOGL) - Get Report , according to CNBC. Suitors are reportedly interested in the big data the network generates.
Shares had fallen before the bell after RBC Capital Markets lowered its rating on the stock to underperform from market perform. Analysts cited a recent survey of advertising professionals that indicated that the social network was among the least favorable in terms of return on investment.
Yahoo! (YHOO) confirmed reports that 500 million users had been affected by a hack in 2014, possibly by a "state-sponsored actor." The tech company said users' email addresses, phone numbers and passwords may had been compromised. Encrypted data such as credit cards had not been exposed. The stock fell 1.9%.
BATS Global Markets (BATS) surged 17% on reports CBOE Holdings (CBOE) - Get Report is interested in an acquisition. The exchange operator became a publicly traded entity in April. A deal could be made within weeks, according to a Bloomberg report.
Finish Line (FINL) fell 2.3% despite exceeding sales estimates in its fiscal second quarter. Revenue climbed 5.4% to $509.4 million, above estimates of $495 million. Same-store sales increased 5.1%, much higher than consensus of 2.9% growth.
Facebook (FB) - Get Report slid 1.3% on reports it had overestimated a key video metric for years. The social network reportedly overstated the average viewing time for its video ads for two years, according to The Wall Street Journal, a concern for advertisers who used the metric to determine ad campaign performance. The company fixed the issue several weeks ago.
Electronic Arts (EA) - Get Report was initiated with an overweight rating and $101 price target at Morgan Stanley. The firm said the market is underestimating the company's earnings power given the transition toward digital.
Prudential (PRU) - Get Report was upgraded to buy from neutral and placed on the conviction buy list at Goldman Sachs. Analysts said the company is leveraged to favorable equity markets and lower rate and currency headwinds.