Energy companies led US stock indexes lower in afternoon trading Friday, erasing modest early gains. The major indexes ended up mixed on the day: The S&P 500 gained 6 points to 3,380, the Dow fell 25 points to 29,397, and the Nasdaq rose 19 points to 9,731. Trading was generally more subdued and cautious on Wall Street, following China's report Thursday of a surge in cases of a new virus that raised fresh concerns about global economic growth. Investors had largely set aside uncertainty about the potential economic fallout from the outbreak the past two weeks. Stocks ended lower on Thursday for only the second time this month. Earlier in the week, the S&P 500 and Nasdaq set all-time highs three days in a row.
With US financial markets scheduled to be closed Monday for the President's Day holiday, it's likely some traders were looking to take some profits now in order to get ahead of potential negative headlines about the virus over the long weekend, said Sam Stovall, chief investment strategist at CFRA. Energy, industrial, and financial sector stocks were among the biggest decliners. Marathon Oil slid 4.1%, J.B. Hunt Transportation Services fell 3%, and American International Group dropped 4.6%.
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