Stocks Flat as Tech Gains Offset Weakness in Banks

(Reuters/Andrew Kelly)

(Reuters) - U.S. stocks were little changed on Friday, as bank shares fell on lingering effects of the Federal Reserve’s less-aggressive stance on future rate hikes, while a jump in Adobe lifted the technology sector.

The S&P 500 financial sector was off 0.82 percent, led by losses in stocks of big banks including Wells Fargo and Bank of America.

The index has outperformed in a post-election rally on bets of simpler regulations and on heightened expectations of higher interest rates.

The rally lost some steam after the Fed on Wednesday stuck to its outlook for a gradual tightening in policy following a widely expected quarter-point rate hike.

“We got the rate increase that the market was looking for, albeit some of the future expectations were a little bit more muted then investors had been bracing for,” said Eric Wiegand, senior portfolio manager at the Private Client Reserve at U.S. Bank.

However, the S&P 500 is on track to score gains for the week, helped by the technology sector.

The S&P tech index was supported on Friday by Adobe stock surging to a record high of $130.30 after the Photoshop software maker reported strong earnings.

At 12:33 p.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 0.74 points at 20,933.81, and the S&P 500 was up 0.17 points, or 0.01 percent, at 2,381.55.

The Nasdaq Composite was up 2.44 points, or 0.04 percent, at 5,903.20.

Eight of the 11 major S&P sectors marked slight gains, topped by a 0.54-percent rise in utilities.

Amgen dropped 6.7 percent, weighing down the health-care sector after analysts were unimpressed by results of a study on its cholesterol drug.

Amgen was also the biggest drag on the broader S&P 500 index and the Nasdaq.

Tiffany’s shares rose 2.8 percent to $92.48, after the high-end jeweler’s fourth-quarter profit topped estimates.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners on the NYSE by 1,696 to 1,181. On the Nasdaq, 1,437 issues rose and 1,315 fell.

The S&P 500 index showed fifty one 52-week highs and three lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 110 highs and 38 lows.