Stocks were modestly lower Friday, on track for a weekly loss, as the tech sector declined.
The S&P 500 was down 0.3% on Friday, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.27%.
Apple (AAPL) continued to pressure the Nasdaq after the tech giant was ordered to stop sales of its iPhone 6 and 6 Plus smartphones in Beijing, citing patent infringement. Apple said the order has since been put on hold while it appeals and that all phones remain for sale. Shares remained down 2%.
The Nasdaq was down 0.75%. The tech sector was the worst performer Friday with major tech companies such as Amazon (AMZN) , Microsoft (MSFT) , and Alibaba (BABA) all lower. The Technology Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLK) fell 0.67%.
Markets have been under pressure in recent days on a multitude of concerns: crude oil has fallen to its lowest level in more than a month, a possible "Brexit" threatens economic stability in the European Union and a less-hawkish Federal Reserve spooked pessimists worried over the health of the U.S. economy.
The Fed's rate hike plans remained in the spotlight on Friday after St. Louis Fed President James Bullard said a slower, more stable economy warranted fewer rate hikes. Bullard noted that low economic growth and a Fed funds rate of just 63 basis points is likely to remain through to 2018. He expects growth of just 2%, weak inflation and a low unemployment rate are likely to continue.
The number of active oil rigs rose by nine in the past week, its third weekly increase, according to Baker Hughes data. Crude has fallen to multi-year lows in the past year as supply ballooned and demand weakened, though recent West Texas Intermediate crude oil price increases were supported by weaker U.S. production.
West Texas Intermediate crude was up 3.8% at $47.98 a barrel on Friday afternoon.
U.S. housing starts fell 0.3% to 1.164 million in May from 1.172 million in April, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. However, the decline was slower than an expected dip to 1.15 million. Housing permits rose to 1.138 million.
Oracle (ORCL) rose 2.7% after posting a mixed fourth quarter. The enterprise-software developer earned an adjusted 81 cents a share, a penny short of estimates, while revenue of $10.59 billion topped estimates of $10.46 billion. Cloud-software sales spiked 51%. Excluding currency exchange, earnings would have matched expectations.
Lumber Liquidators (LL) roared 20% higher after U.S. regulators ended their investigation into its flooring products containing formaldehyde. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission did not issue a recall, but ordered a number of safety measures, many of which the company has already implemented.
Revlon (REV) reached an agreement to acquire fellow cosmetics maker Elizabeth Arden (RDEN) for about $870 million. Under the terms of the deal, Revlon will pay $14 per Elizabeth Arden share, a premium of roughly 50% over Elizabeth Arden's close on Thursday. The companies expect cost synergies of $140 million through "the elimination of duplicative activities, leveraging purchasing scale and optimizing the manufacturing and distribution networks."
Viacom (VIA.B) shares were in flux after news broke late Thursday that Sumner Redstone's National Amusements had ousted five directors, including CEO Phillipe Dauman from the 11-person board, and the company issued weak guidance.
Redstone's privately held company is a controlling shareholder of the media conglomerate. Redstone has been in the spotlight recently as lawyers argued over whether he is mentally competent to run media companies Viacom and CBS.
Viacom said early Friday it expects fiscal third-quarter adjusted earnings of $1 to $1.05 a share; analysts forecast $1.38 a share. Viacom said a weak third quarter was tied to the "disappointing" performance of the latest Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie.
Infoblox (BLOX) was slightly lower after announcing plans to lay off 12% of workers in a cost-reduction plan. The network-software company will cut around 110 jobs and will likely incur $6.5 million in costs as part of the restructuring.