NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks edged lower on Wall Street Friday afternoon, threatening to end the S&P 500′s streak of weekly advances at six.
The Standard & Poor’s 500 fell five points to 1,516 as of 3:19 p.m. EST, leaving it down about one point for the week. It has risen every week so far this year.
The Dow Jones industrial average fell 32 points to 13,941. The Nasdaq composite fell 12 points to 3,196.
Walmart was the biggest decliner on the Dow. The stock fell $1.90, or 2.7 percent, to $68.92 after Bloomberg News published excerpts from an internal e-mail that said February sales were a “total disaster.” The retailer, which reports earnings next week, said that sometimes internal communications lacked “proper context” and “are not entirely accurate.”
Energy companies also contributed to the slump, following the price of crude oil lower. Chevron dropped $1.39 to $114.30 and Exxon Mobil fell 52 cents to $88.
A stock market rally that started in January has slowed in February. Investors piled into stocks at the beginning of the year after lawmakers reached a last-minute deal to avoid the “fiscal cliff” of sweeping tax hikes and spending cuts. The gains continued as investors were encouraged by signs that the housing and jobs markets are recovering.
“We’ve just had such a fast start to the year,” said John Fox, manager of the FAM value fund. “It just makes sense that you are going to have a leveling or a slowdown.”
Herbalife gained $1.92, or 5 percent, to $40.19 after the billionaire investor Carl Icahn disclosed that he had accumulated a 13 percent stake in the company. The stock of the dietary supplement company slumped last year after Pershing Square Capital Management’s William Ackman described it as a massive pyramid scheme and placed bets that it would fall.
Investors are continuing to put money into stocks. Lipper, a unit of financial data provider Thomson Reuters, reported that $2.4 billion flowed into stock funds this week, marking the sixth straight week of increases. In January $37.4 billion went into stock funds, the most in that month since 2000.
The yield on the 10-year Treasury note, which moves inversely to its price, has risen as investors have put more cash into stocks. The yield was little changed at 2 percent today, having started the year at 1.70 percent.
Among other stocks making big moves Friday;
— MeadWestvaco, a packaging company, surged $2.83, or 9 percent, to $34.51 after Nelson Peltz’s Trian Fund Management disclosed that it taken a $51 million stake in the company.
— Xoom, an online money transfer company, surged $6.88 to $22.88 on its first day as a publicly traded company. Xoom raised $101.2 million from selling 6.3 million shares at $16 each.
— Burger King gained 54 cents to $17.12. The company’s fourth-quarter earnings nearly doubled after it revamped its menu.
Official Wire and AP
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