Stocks Inch Higher in Quiet Trading, But Disney Stumbles 


Stocks finished mostly higher Friday as they wrapped up a quiet week of trading.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 index fluctuated early on, but managed to eke out a small gain as telecommunications and financial stocks rose. Disney dragged down the Dow Jones industrial average after the company lost 3 million subscribers in one of its channels in the last year. Oil prices slumped, dragging down energy stocks.

The Dow fell 14.90 points, or 0.1 percent, to 17,798.49. The S&P 500 picked up 1.24 points, or less than 0.1 percent, to 2,090.11. The Nasdaq composite index added 11.38 points, or 0.2 percent, to 5,127.52.

U.S. markets were closed Thursday for the Thanksgiving holiday, and closed at 1 p.m. on Friday.

Stocks didn’t have much momentum in a week of light trading. The market made its biggest weekly gain of 2015 last week, but this week the Dow fell 0.1 percent and the S&P 500 rose less than 0.1 percent.

Oil prices dropped. Benchmark U.S. crude fell $1.33, or 3.1 percent, to $41.71 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, a benchmark for international oils, gave up 60 cents, or 1.3 percent, to $44.86 a barrel in London.

The largest losers on the S&P 500 were energy stocks. Consol Energy lost 52 cents, or 6.5 percent, to $7.48, and Southwestern Energy gave up 68 cents, or 7.2 percent, to $8.74.

Prudential Financial market strategist Quincy Krosby said oil prices gained a premium this week because of geopolitical concerns like increased military action against the Islamic State and growing tensions between Russia and Turkey after Turkey shot down a Russian fighter plane on Tuesday.

Krosby said those gains may not last long. Next week OPEC will hold a meeting in Vienna, and the group could send oil prices higher by deciding to cut back on production. Or, it could decide to keep producing oil at its present rate, which might make prices fall further.

That premium on the price of oil “can move up dramatically but also come down or dissipate just as quickly,” Krosby said.

Retail stocks didn’t move much on Black Friday, when millions of shoppers hit the stores in search of bargains. Target rose 28 cents to $73.44 and Wal-Mart Stores dipped 35 cents to $59.89. Amazon fell $2.08 to $673.26.

Hewlett Packard Enterprise continued to rise. The technology services company, formerly part of Hewlett-Packard, saw an increase in sales of data-center hardware during the fourth quarter. Its shares added 23 cents, or 1.3 percent, to $14.35, after picking up 3 percent Wednesday.

In other energy trading, wholesale gasoline fell 0.6 cents to $1.391 a gallon. Heating oil fell 5 cents, or 3.6 percent, to $1.352 a gallon. Natural gas tumbled 8.7 cents, or 3.8 percent, to $2.212 per 1,000 cubic feet.

Gold fell $13.80, or 1.3 percent, to $1,056.20 an ounce. Silver declined 15 cents, or 1.1 percent, to $14.008 an ounce. Copper inched up 0.5 cents to $2.051 a pound.

U.S. government bond prices rose. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 2.22 percent from 2.24 percent late Wednesday. The euro fell to $1.0597 from $1.0617 and the dollar rose to 122.84 yen from 122.72 yen.

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