US stocks: Wall Street closes lower in risk-off mode


NEW YORK – US stocks ended Friday slightly lower, led by weaker megacap stocks after their recent rally, as data showed US consumer sentiment slipped to a six-month low.
The Dow was barely down for its fifth straight day of declines, the blue-chip index’s longest losing streak in two months.
Tesla Inc. shares fell 2.3% after rising more than 2% on Thursday after CEO Elon Musk announced he had found a new CEO for Twitter. On Friday, he tweeted that the job went to former NBCUniversal advertising executive Linda Yaccarino.
The technology sector of the S&P 500 lost 0.2%, while the consumer discretionary index fell 0.9%.
Along with Tesla, shares of Apple Inc. and Inc. have been among the biggest detractors from the S&P 500. The tech index is still up about 22% so far this year.
“They’ve had an incredible run, so these valuation concerns are starting to manifest,” said Peter Tuz, president of Chase Investment Counsel in Charlottesville, Virginia.
“To their credit they have strong balance sheets and had decent first quarters, so their businesses appear to be holding up, but there comes a point where valuations start to matter.”
Consumer sentiment fell to its lowest level since November in May as the stalemate on raising the federal government’s borrowing limit heightened worries about the economic outlook.
Investors worry that the Fed’s aggressive rate hikes could push the economy into recession. Fed Governor Michelle Bowman said on Friday that the Fed will likely have to raise rates further if inflation stays high.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 8.89 points, or 0.03%, to 33,300.62; the S&P 500 fell 6.54 points, or 0.16%, to 4,124.08; and the Nasdaq Composite fell 43.76 points, or 0.35%, to 12,284.74.
The utilities and consumer staples sectors in the S&P 500 were the leading sectors, each up 0.4%.
For the week, the Dow lost 1.1%, the S&P 500 fell 0.3% and the Nasdaq rose 0.4%.
The Congressional Budget Office said on Friday that without a debt ceiling hike, the US faces a “significant risk” of defaulting on its debts within the first two weeks of June.
Friday’s gainers included shares of News Corp, which rose 8.5% after the media conglomerate beat Wall Street estimates for third-quarter earnings.
First Solar Inc. shares rose 26.5% after the solar panel maker acquired Swedish thin-film solar cell technology company Evolar AB.
Volume on US exchanges was 9.33 billion shares, compared to the 20-day average of 10.65 billion for the entire session.
Declining issuance outnumbered the rising issuance by a ratio of 1.46 to 1 on the NYSE; On the Nasdaq, a 1.49-to-1 ratio favored the losers.
The S&P 500 posted 19 new 52-week highs and 15 new lows; The Nasdaq Composite posted 60 new highs and 239 new lows.

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