Dow struggles for tepid gains Friday, as the Nasdaq Composite fights to defend 14,000 to end punishing week

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Dow struggles for tepid gains Friday, as the Nasdaq Composite fights to defend 14,000 to end punishing week

S&P 500 heads for worst string of weekly losses since September 2020

Stock indexes mostly dropped early Friday, trading modestly lower, as Netflix Inc. shares weighed on investor sentiment that has already been rattled by a series of whipsaw sessions on Wall Street that has left some once-highflying segments of the market underwater.

How are stock indexes trading?
  • The S&P 500 SPX, -1.39% was trading 18 points, or 0.4%, lower to 4,465.
  • The Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, -0.77% declined 0.1%, or 31 points, to around 34,677.
  • The Nasdaq Composite Index COMP, -2.09% fell 100 points, or 0.7%. to 14,055, threatening to breach a psychological round-number level at 14,000.
  • For the week, the Nasdaq Composite was headed for a nearly 6% weekly drop, which would be the worst such performance since late October 2020. The S&P 500 was on track for a 4.4% decline and the Dow was poised to fall 3.5% for the holiday-shortened week.

On Thursday, stocks fell, with the Nasdaq Composite ending with a loss of 1.3%, erasing a 2.1% rise seen earlier in the day and recording the index’s largest same-day reversal since April 7, 2020.

Read: When no stock-market lead is safe, here’s what history shows the Nasdaq’s near-term returns look like (it’s not pretty)

What’s driving the markets?

A volatile week of trade was set to leave the S&P 500 with its third straight weekly loss. That would be the worst weekly return since late October 2020 if that drop holds, according to FactSet data.

Read: ‘Good luck! We’ll all need it’: U.S. market approaches end of ‘superbubble,’ says Jeremy Grantham

The stats are worse for the Nasdaq, which was poised for its fourth straight weekly loss, with one more down session putting it on track for the longest string of declines since 2012.

After entering correction territory on Wednesday, the Nasdaq deepened that rout on Thursday. The index is down 11.85% from its record close in November. meeting the definition of a market correction.

Both Wednesday and Thursday saw indexes log gains early in the day only to surrender them later, rattling investors. Markets have been dogged by a bond market selloff and fears of Federal Reserve tightening to combat surging inflation, and that has particularly hit rate-sensitive technology stocks.

A bumpy start to earnings season also has dented investor confidence, with a string of downbeat bank results, and gloom about Netflix NFLX, -25.10%, after the streaming service reported far weaker than expected subscriber growth numbers.

Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Spartan Capital, said lowered guidance from major banks has been a key factor for this earnings season. “Nevertheless, we are at the beginning of the earnings season and remain confident that overall grades will bolster the market’s fundamentals, thereby softening the blow of rising yields,” he said.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury note TMUBMUSD10Y, 1.737% was down 3 basis point at 1.78%, but has soared this month, from 1.5% at the start of January.

Elsewhere on Friday, crude-oil prices continued to pullback from 7-year highs, with U.S. crude CL00, -1.74% down 1.5% and gold prices GC00, -0.30% were off 0.5% to $1,834 an ounce.

Meanwhile, cryptocurrencies were also under pressure, with bitcoin BTCUSD, -7.77% tumbling below a key support level at $40,000, dragging the sector lower. The losses come a day after Russia’s central bank proposed banning the use and mining of cryptos.

Leading economic indicators for December, due at 10 a.m. Eastern, were the only data on tap.

Which companies are in focus?
  • Peloton Interactive PTON, 0.90% shares climbed 5.3% early Friday after Chief Executive John Foley pushed back against media reports claiming a production halt and layoffs that triggered a 23% plunge during Thursday’s regular trading session.
  • Netflix Inc. is down 23% on Friday, while shares of rival Disney DIS, with its Disney+ and Hulu services, off more than 6% and streaming device maker Roku ROKU down nearly 4%.
How are other assets trading?