Stocks were slightly lower in midday trading Friday, following three straight days of gains this week. Technology stocks were trading heavily, particularly Facebook, Yahoo and Twitter. Energy stocks fell with the price of oil.
KEEPING SCORE: The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 64 points, or 0.4 percent, to 18,328 as of 12:30 p.m. Eastern time. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index fell six points, or 0.3 percent, to 2,171, and the Nasdaq composite fell 14 points, or 0.3 percent, to 5,325.
AD MAN: Facebook shares fell $1.72, or 1.3 percent, to $128.26 after The Wall Street Journal reported that Facebook was overstating how long its users were watching its video ads, raising concerns that a portion of Facebook’s ad revenue may be at risk.
BREACH: Yahoo fell $1.11, or 2.5 percent, to $43.05 after the company admitted that the data of 500 million users was stolen by a foreign agent, much more than the company previously acknowledged. While Yahoo has previously agreed to sell most of its assets to Verizon, there were concerns that this development may cause Verizon to go back to the negotiating table.
TWITTER CHATTER: Twitter soared $3.33, or 18 percent, to $21.96 after CNBC reported that the company is in deal talks with Salesforce and Google’s parent company Alphabet for a possible sale. Alphabet and Salesforce were both down in afternoon trading.
FED HANGOVER: Stocks posted solid gains this week, with the S&P 500 up 1.5 percent, as investors breathed a sigh of relief after the Federal Reserve decided to keep rates at their current low levels yet again. The next time the Fed could raise rates is next month, but the general impression among investors is that the central bank will not raise rates until December, long after the general election.
“As much as market fundamentals matter, the Fed and its decisions continue to dominate markets,” said Kristina Hooper, head of U.S. investment strategies at Allianz Global Investors.
ENERGY: Oil prices fell sharply after reports that Saudi Arabia was unable to reach an agreement with Iran to cut production. U.S. benchmark crude-oil futures fell $1.50 to $44.78 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, used to price international oils, fell $1.34 to $46.87 a barrel.
Energy companies were hit hard on the reports, with the energy component of the S&P 500 down more than 1.1 percent, much more than the broader market.
BONDS AND CURRENCIES: The yield on the U.S. Treasury 10-year note was little changed at 1.62 percent. The euro rose to $1.1228 from $1.204, and the dollar edged up to 101.00 yen from 100.89 yen.