Stocks Close Lower After S&P 500 Hits Intraday Record

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Benchmark U.S. stock indices closed lower Friday, as investors balanced data showcasing the strength of the economic recovery against the nervousness around a hike in rate guidance from the Federal Reserve. Volatility played a role in Friday's market action due to options expirations.

  • The Dow Jones Industrial Average was off 0.17% to 16,302.70 while the S&P 500 was 0.30% lower at 1,866.40. Earlier, the benchmark index touched a record intraday high of 1,883.97 before slipping back. The Nasdaq slipped 0.98% to 4,276.79.
  • Traders noted the expiry on several futures and options contracts over indices and individual stocks may have contributed to intraday volatility.
  • Darden Restaurants (DRI) gained 2.68% after posting in-line fiscal third-quarter earnings of 82 cents a share. Nike (NKE) slid 5.12% after sales forecasts fell short of analysts' expectations. Tiffany (TIF) shed 0.48% after releasing full-year guidance below estimates and missing fourth-quarter earnings expectations by 5 cents at $1.47 a share on a small revenue disappointment. Boeing (BA) was off 0.86% after being cut to "neutral" from "buy" at Goldman Sachs. Symantec (SYMC) fell 12.94% after the anti-virus software company fired its CEO.
  • U.S. stocks rebounded Thursday, reversing earlier losses after a spate of housing and manufacturing data underscored the ongoing economic recovery. Markets had been lower earlier in the session, continuing their cautious tone after Fed officials indicated rates may rise faster than anticipated.
  • Fitch Ratings affirmed the U.S.'s long-term foreign and local currency issuer default ratings at "AAA" with stable outlooks. This rating action resolves the negative rating watch on which the ratings had been placed previously.
  • International markets were higher across the board after the spate of uplifting economic reports out of the U.S. and talk of further stimulus coming from China. The FTSE 100 was up 0.23%, the DAX in Germany was higher by 0.50%, the Hong Kong Hang Seng settled up 1.2%, and the Shanghai Composite rose 2.72%. The markets were showing little concern about the exchange sanctions between the U.S. and Russia following Russia's move to annex Crimea given that any fallout from these actions looked unlikely to escalate to military action. Moscow's Micex Index was up 0.17%.

-- Written by Jane Searle and Andrea Tse in New York

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