Category: Markets / Finance / February 15, 2013 5:14 PM EST
The S&P 500 dipped in a late decline on Friday (February 15) as Wal-Mart dropped following a report of a weak start to February sales, though the index just barely extended its streak of weekly gains to seven.
Equities were little changed for much of the session, with investors finding few reasons to make big bets following an extended rally on Wall Street, but stocks turned lower in afternoon action.
Wal-Mart Stores Inc dropped 2.1 percent to $69.30 (USD) after Bloomberg News reported a weak start to February sales, citing internal company e-mails. The stock was the biggest decliner on the Dow, while the S&P retail index fell 0.5 percent.
Equities have struggled for direction recently, with major indexes moving only slightly in the past several sessions. The S&P didn't end a session with a move greater than 0.2 percent at all this week.
The benchmark index, up 6.6 percent so far this year, is facing strong technical resistance near the 1,525 level. But investors expecting the index to advance further in the quarter, have held back from locking in profits.
Many investors are starting to look ahead to a debate in Washington over sequestration, automatic across-the-board spending cuts put in place as part of a larger congressional budget fight. The cuts are due to kick in March 1 unless lawmakers agree to an alternative.
The Dow Jones industrial average was up 11.27 points, or 0.08 percent, at 13,984.66. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index was up 0.32 points, or 0.02 percent, at 1,521.70. The Nasdaq Composite Index was up 1.51 points, or 0.05 percent, at 3,200.17.
For the week, both the Dow and Nasdaq fell 0.1 percent while the S&P rose 0.1 percent in its seventh straight week of gains, a period during which the index rose 8.4 percent. The last such seven-week run was between December 2010 and January 2011.
(Video Source: Reuters)