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Dow down for the day but US stocks have best week yet in 2016


[NEW YORK] Wall Street finished its best week of 2016 on a muted note Friday with the Dow and S&P 500 slightly negative and the Nasdaq pushing higher.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 21.44 points (0.13 per cent) to 16,391.99.

The broad-based S&P 500 was essentially flat at 1,917.78, down 0.05 point, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index rose 16.89 (0.38 per cent) to 4,504.43.

Most petroleum-linked equities retreated as oil prices fell. The bigger losers included Apache Petroleum and Continental Resources, both of which fell about 4.5 per cent.

The gains in Nasdaq reflect that "investors are concluding that a lot of the technology stocks are insulated from the vagaries of oil," said Jack Ablin, chief investment officer BMO Private Bank.

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Among tech stocks, Amazon rose 1.9 per cent, Facebook 1.1 per cent and Priceline 2.5 per cent.

Yahoo climbed 2.1 per cent as it announced a committee would study the company's "strategic alternatives," moving a step closer toward a breakup or sale of the troubled Internet pioneer.

Apple dipped 0.2 per cent as US law enforcement officials sought a court order to force it to help unlock an iPhone as part of the probe into last year's San Bernardino attacks, escalating a legal showdown over encryption. Apple on Thursday said it would fight the government's demand.

Valeant Pharmaceuticals International plunged 9.7 per cent following a harsh report from a Wells Fargo analyst who said the company could face liquidity problems and that some of its acquisitions were ill-conceived.

Agricultural equipment company Deere fell 4.2 per cent as it projected a decline of 10 per cent in equipment sales in 2016 after reporting a 34.2 per cent fall in first-quarter earnings to US$254.4 million.

Upscale department store Nordstrom tumbled 6.7 per cent after reporting a 29.4 per cent drop in fourth-quarter earnings to US$180 million following a lackluster holiday shopping season.

Applied Materials, which provides materials engineering for semiconductors and electronic devices, jumped 7.1 per cent after reporting earnings that bested expectations and offering a positive outlook.


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