Wall Street held mostly lower Friday in a quieter end to a record-breaking week in which stocks scored their best winning streak in a quarter century.
The S&P 500 was down 0.16%, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.25%, and the Nasdaq added 0.05%.
The promise of tax reform from Donald Trump was largely the driver behind recent all-time records for benchmark indexes achieved earlier in the week. The rally lost its luster on Thursday during an unfocused and lengthy press conference in which Trump said a tax reform plan would come after a health care proposal in March. Trump has made vague references to a forthcoming tax reform plan, though no details of the president's self-described "massive" tax reform have been divulged.
The Dow, S&P 500 and Nasdaq ended Wednesday with their fifth record close in a row, the longest record-making streak since a six-session stretch from late 1991 to early 1992. That record stretch was snapped on Thursday after the S&P 500 and Nasdaq fell and the Dow closed at a new record by just a few points.
UnitedHealth (UNH) led the Dow's losses after the U.S. Department of Justice joined a lawsuit accusing the health care company of overcharging Medicare. The company reportedly overcharged the Medicare program "hundreds of millions -- and likely billions -- of dollars." UnitedHealth has refuted the charges.
Kraft Heinz (KHC) , the maker of Kraft mac and cheese and Heinz ketchup, on Friday said it approached consumer products giant Unilever (UL) about a merger but that Unilever rejected the approach. Unilever said the $143 billion approach has "no merit" and "fundamentally undervalues" the consumer staples company. The Kraft offer represented an 18% premium to Unilever's close on Thursday. Shares of Kraft Heinz rose 8% while Unilever gained 10%.
WebMD (WBMD) fluctuated after indicating it was open to selling itself. On Thursday, the online medical encyclopedia said it was looking into "strategic alternatives," which could include selling all or part of the company.
Deere & Co. (DE) exceeded first-quarter estimates and offered positive guidance. The agricultural equipment company reported earnings of 61 cents a share, down from 80 cents in the year-ago quarter but higher than consensus of 56 cents. Sales of $4.7 billion beat expectations of $4.62 billion. Deere anticipates full-year sales growth of 4%, higher than consensus of a flat reading.
J.M. Smucker (SJM) issued a weaker-than-expected forecast for its fiscal 2017 after reporting a decline in both earnings and sales over its third quarter. Adjusted earnings guidance was trimmed to $7.60 to $7.70 a share, shaving a nickel off its previous high-end of guidance. Comparable net sales are expected to drop 3%, a worse decline than a previous range of flat to a 1% drop.
VF Corp. (VFC) rose 3% despite reporting fourth-quarter revenue below analysts' estimates. The owner of The North Face and other apparel brands reported revenue of $3.32 billion, missing estimates of $3.44 billion. Adjusted earnings of 97 cents a share were in line with analysts' estimates.
Campbell Soup (CPB) fell 5% after a mixed quarter. The canned goods company earned an adjusted 91 cents a share, 3 cents higher than consensus. Revenue slipped to $2.17 billion from $2.2 billion a year earlier and fell short of estimates of $2.22 billion.It's a quiet day for economic data with only a weekly reading on active oil rigs in the U.S. from Baker Hughes out this afternoon. Markets will be closed on Monday in honor of Washington's Birthday.