Equities Move South on Week’s Final Session

U.S. stocks fell on Friday, retreating from record levels, as investors reassessed the outlook for President Joe Biden’s ambitious COVID stimulus plan.

The Dow Jones Industrials stumbled 170.42 points to 31,005.59.

The S&P 500 slid 10.58 points to 3,842.49.

The NASDAQ retreated 5.88 points from Thursday’s all-time high to 13,525.03, supported by gains in Microsoft and Facebook.

Despite Friday’s weakness, major averages are on pace to post a winning week. The S&P 500 is up 2.2% for the week so far. The Dow is up 0.6% and the NASDAQ is up 3.8%.

Dow-component IBM fell more than 9% after the company reported fourth-quarter sales below where analysts were expecting. Revenue fell 6% on an annualized basis, the fourth consecutive quarter of declines.

Intel shares retreated 5% following a 6% pop on Thursday after it released better-than-expected earnings just before the closing bell.
Apple has jumped 6.8% and and Facebook has risen 9.7%, this week ahead of their quarterly results, while Microsoft has gained almost 7%.

The so-called FAANG block all traded in the green on Friday.

A growing number of Republicans have expressed doubts over the need for another stimulus bill, especially one with a price tag of $1.9 trillion proposed by Biden. Meanwhile, Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin has criticized the size of the latest round of proposed stimulus checks.

Dissent from either party carries weight for Biden, who took office with a slim majority in Congress.

Meanwhile, the Senate is expected on Friday to overwhelmingly confirm former Fed Chair Janet Yellen as Biden’s Treasury secretary. If confirmed, she would be the first woman to lead the department.

Prices for the 10-Year Treasury were unchanged, keeping yields at Thursday’s 1.10%.

Oil prices swooned 98 cents to $52.15 U.S. a barrel.

Gold prices skidded $17.00 to $1,848.90 U.S. an ounce.