US stock indexes mostly down in afternoon trading; oil rises

The index returned more than 5% in the first quarter, the biggest quarterly gain since 2013.

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 0.3%. Utilities led the gainers.

Trading was largely subdued, suggesting portfolio managers looking to bolster their end-of-quarter performance had made their moves earlier in the week, said Quincy Krosby, market strategist at Prudential Financial.

BlackBerry Ltd, which said it expects to be profitable on an adjusted basis in 2018 and almost halved its operating costs, was one of the bright spots in the market.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average held lower Friday, closing down 0.3% at 20,663.22.

The S&P 500 is up 18.74 points, or 0.8 percent. The index hit an all-time high Thursday. Small caps kept their chin up, leaving the Russell 2000 with a 0.3% gain.

Specialist Thomas McArdle works at his post on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, Thursday, March 30, 2017.

-German bonds gained, with the yield on 10-year bonds dropping by around one basis point after inflation in Europe's largest economy decelerated more than forecast in March.

Stocks slid into a weak finish Friday as mixed consumer spending and income data, and an unexpected bump up in Midwest manufacturing helped confuse the end-of-quarter trade.

The Chicago manufacturing PMI rose to 57.7 this month from 57.4 in February. Meanwhile, an inflation gauge closely watched by the Federal Reserve increased 2.1 per cent in February compared to a year ago.

US stocks opened slightly lower on Friday, as investors found few reasons to keep pushing shares higher following an extended rally that has taken major equities to repeated records, including a record close for the Nasdaq on Thursday.

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Wall Street's near-record valuations may be put to the test in the coming weeks as investors turn their attention to first quarter earnings.

The S&P 500 index fell 5.34 points, or 0.2 percent, to 2,362.72.

DIALED IN: BlackBerry surged 13.7 percent after the company delivered a surprise fourth-quarter profit.

NantHealth didn't fare as well.

Other companies that sell athletic apparel were pressured as well, including Nike, which lost 1.2 percent, and Under Armour, which shed 2.3 percent.

Auto dealership companies were among the decliners Friday.

"We're really only about 1 per cent below the record high again, so valuations are starting to creep higher", said Randy Frederick, vice president of trading and derivatives at Charles Schwab & Co Inc. Wholesale gasoline rose 2 cents to $1.70 per gallon and heating oil gained 2 cents to $1.57 per gallon.

"There was plenty of U.S. data for investors to deal with this afternoon; they just weren't that interested", suggested Connor Campbell at spread betting firm Spreadex.

Shares in ConocoPhillips jumped almost 6% after the energy company announced it was selling oil sands and western Canadian natural gas assets to Cenovus Energy for 17.7 billion Canadian dollars ($13.3bn; £10.6bn). The stock climbed $5.50 to $17.45.

Shares in FMC got a lift after the company agreed to buy part of DuPont's crop-protection business.

  • Darren Santiago