US: Wall Street ekes out positive finish

[NEW YORK] Wall Street slouched to a positive finish on Friday with all three major stock indices making last-minute moves into positive territory after spending most of the session in the red.

Though it finished essentially flat, the blue-chip Dow Jones Industrial Average also extended its streak of fresh all-time highs with an 11th consecutive record close.

The Dow gained less than a tenth of a percentage point to close at 20,821.76 but was up one per cent for the week on the back of an extraordinary rally.

The S&P 500 and Nasdaq each added 0.2 per cent, rising to 2,367.34 and 5,845.31, respectively. The Nasdaq was up 0.8 per cent for the week and the S&P increased 0.7 per cent.

A positive finish had been in doubt for much of the day, however, with most indices in the red.

"There's a little profit taking as we had an incredible run over the last week and a half or so," Jack Ablin of BMO Private Bank told AFP.

"Without further impetus from either the economy, policy or earnings, there's probably nothing for investors to grab onto today."

Leading the Dow's losers was financial behemoth Goldman Sachs, which saw its stock slapped with a "sell" rating from Germany's Berenberg investment bank, which cited the risk that earnings may disappoint in 2016 and of possible insider selling at the bank.

Shares in Goldman fell 1.5 per cent but were still up nearly 40 per cent since November's presidential elections.

Retailers had a better Friday, with Dow component Wal-Mart Stores adding 1.5 percent and Home Depot gaining 0.9 per cent.

Oil shares took a minor tumble after crude prices receded in New York on fears of mounting production and inventories.

Shares in super-majors Chevron and Exxon Mobil each fell 0.8 per cent to give up gains recorded Thursday.



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