* Dow on track for best two-week period since June 2012
* Twitter shares slide after massive rally
* Textron to buy Beechcraft for $1.4 billion in cash
* Nasdaq down 0.2 pct, Dow, S&P 500 flat,
By Curtis Skinner
NEW YORK, Dec 27 U.S. stock indexes barely
budged on Friday, taking a break from this week's rally that has
repeatedly pushed stocks to all-time highs as investors close
out a stellar year for equities.
Shares of Twitter Inc, the social media company
that has nearly tripled in value since going public in early
November, slid 8 percent to $67.34 by early afternoon as
investors took profits. The stock, however, is still up about 12
percent for the week. Twitter was among the most actively traded
on the New York Stock Exchange.
The Nasdaq, a tech-heavy index, was down 0.3 percent, with
leaders like Apple off slightly. The Nasdaq has surged
38 percent this year, making it the best performer among the
three major U.S. stock indexes.
"I think you are just seeing some people take profits off
the table here. I think it's normal market behavior at the end
of the year," said Robert Francello, head of equity trading for
Apex Capital in San Francisco.
Volume overall was light, as it has been all week, with no
economic data and many participants out for the rest of 2013.
A bright spot came from the telecom sector. Sprint Corp
shares jumped 7.7 percent to $10.73 and topped the NYSE's
most-active list, following speculation that a deal by Japan's
SoftBank Corp to acquire U.S. wireless carrier T-Mobile
US is closer to getting done. SoftBank is considering
the possibility of having Sprint, which it recently acquired,
take a majority stake in T-Mobile, according to sources close to
the matter. Sprint's stock earlier hit a 52-week
high at $11.46.
The Dow Jones industrial average was down 6.67
points, or 0.04 percent, at 16,473.21. The Standard & Poor's 500
Index was down 0.89 points, or 0.05 percent, at 1,841.13.
The Nasdaq Composite Index was down 10.33 points, or
0.25 percent, at 4,156.85.
For the week, the Dow has gained about 1.6 percent, the S&P
500 has added about 1.2 percent and the Nasdaq has advanced
about 1.2 percent.
Equities have been on a tear lately, with the Dow climbing
to its sixth straight record closing high on Thursday, the
longest daily streak of gains for the blue-chip average since
Both the Dow and the S&P 500 are on track for a second
straight week of solid gains. The S&P 500 is set to post its
best two-week period since July, while the Dow is expected to
mark its best two weeks since June 2012.
The S&P 500 has soared 29.1 percent this year, on track for
its best year since 1997, in part due to the Fed's stimulus. The
Dow has gained 25.8 percent in 2013.
Traders said they did not expect another record year next
year, but noted that more investors could adopt a more
aggressive stance, given the success in equities and the
"I don't think it's realistic to expect another 25 percent
up year in the S&P or the Dow, but we have seen a tremendous
move in the markets," said Randy Billhardt, head of capital
markets at MLV & Co in New York.
In company news, Textron Inc agreed to buy aircraft
maker Beechcraft Corp for $1.4 billion in cash. Textron shares
rose 1.5 percent to $36.74.
General Motors Co's China joint venture will recall
close to 1.5 million vehicles because of potential safety issues
in one of the biggest recalls in the world's biggest auto
market. GM's stock fell 1.2 percent to $41.03.