(Reuters) – U.S. stock indexes fell on Friday on weakness in technology stocks and as energy companies were hit by lower oil prices after President Donald Trump criticized OPEC for artificially high prices.
Oil prices reversed course to fall about 1 percent after Trump criticized OPEC for output reductions that have helped raise oil prices and said the action would not be tolerated. [O/R]
The energy index fell 0.89 percent, leading the losers among the 11 major S&P sectors.
Schlumberger dropped 1.6 percent after the oilfield services provider’s profit just scraped past estimates. Rival Halliburton fell 1 percent.
Oil majors Exxon and Chevron were off about 1 percent and weighed on the Dow Jones Industrial Average.
The Dow, however, got a boost from General Electric, which jumped 4.5 percent after it posted quarterly results that topped estimates and affirmed its 2018 forecasts.
Honeywell rose 1.4 percent after reporting higher-than-expected quarterly profit and lifting its full-year earnings forecast.
First-quarter profit at S&P 500 companies are expected to have recorded their strongest gain in seven years. Of the 73 companies that have reported through Thursday, 76.7 percent have topped profit expectations, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Investors are questioning if the tax cuts are going to be as beneficial as expected and are worried rising interest rates would hit borrowing costs, said Andre Bakhos, managing director at New Vines Capital LLC in Bernardsville, New Jersey.
“There are some lingering concerns around interest rates, and earnings, although so far are very robust, the forward-looking statements aren’t as exciting,” Bakhos said.
At 9:58 a.m. EDT the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 30.81 points, or 0.12 percent, at 24,634.08, the S&P 500 was down 5.71 points, or 0.21 percent, at 2,687.42 and the Nasdaq Composite was down 43.50 points, or 0.60 percent, at 7,194.55.
Bank stocks got a boost with U.S. ten-year Treasury yields , the benchmark for global borrowing costs, hitting a near two-month high of 2.9410 percent.
Technology stocks were weak for the third session in a row, dropping 0.89 percent. The biggest drag was Apple, which fell 3.2 percent.
One bright spot in tech was Twitter, whose shares rose 3.7 percent after bullish brokerage actions, including MKM Partners’ upgrade to “buy”.
Skechers USA shares tumbled 26.9 percent after the footwear maker’s quarterly profit forecast missed analysts’ estimates.
Declining issues outnumbered advancers by a 1.59-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and by a 1.58-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.
The S&P index recorded nine new 52-week highs and 11 new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 21 new highs and 27 new lows.
(Reporting by Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta)