NEW YORK (Reuters) - The S&P 500 and Nasdaq rose on Friday as positive broker comments on Microsoft boosted technology shares, but the major averages lost ground for the week for the first time in five weeks.
Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O) jumped 2.4 percent to $24.07 after Goldman Sachs added shares of the world’s largest software company to its Americas “conviction buy” list and said new products and an increase in information technology spending should underpin growth.
Apple Inc (AAPL.O) rose 2.7 percent to $139.48 as its latest iPhone hit stores. While the new product release drew crowds to Apple’s flagship New York store, the line was shorter than for previous launches.
After a sharp three-month rally, indexes eased this week as investors increasingly questioned if stocks are due for a correction. Worries that the economic recovery could be tepid have dented optimism that has driven the S&P 500 up as much as 40 percent from March’s 12-year low.
“We’ve had the survival bounce and the end of the month-after-month declines in economic data,” said Bucky Hellwig, senior vice president at Morgan Asset Management, in Birmingham, Alabama.
“But it seems the debate is emerging: ‘Do we need to rest here? Do we need to pull back? Or can it continue?’”
The Dow Jones industrial average .DJI fell 15.87 points, or 0.19 percent, to 8,539.73. But the Standard & Poor's 500 Index .SPX added 2.86 points, or 0.31 percent, to 921.23. And the Nasdaq Composite Index .IXIC rose 19.75 points, or 1.09 percent, to 1,827.47.
After four weeks of gains, the Dow fell 3 percent, the S&P lost 2.6 percent, and the Nasdaq dropped 1.7 percent for the week.
Nonetheless, the S&P 500 is up 36.2 percent in an impressive run-up from March 9’s closing low.
In Friday’s session, energy shares pulled the Dow lower and dragged on the S&P 500 as oil prices fell below $70 a barrel on bets there would be ample fuel supply for the summer vacation season.
While rising oil prices can be a positive signal that demand and the global economy are strengthening, higher prices prompt already thrifty consumers to keep a tight grip on their wallets. Exxon Mobil (XOM.N) shed 0.6 percent to $71.05.
Stocks also were buffeted by the end of the two-day quadruple witching period, the expiration and settlement of June stock and index futures and options. Volume was higher due to the expiration.
Four types of June futures and options contracts expire or settle on Friday, a quarterly event that tends to generate high volume as investors adjust or exercise their derivative positions.
Financial shares helped support the S&P 500 after the sector retreated earlier in the week. JPMorgan Chase & Co (JPM.N) gained 2.4 percent to $35 and ranked among the Dow’s biggest advancers. Bank of America (BAC.N) was up 2.5 percent at $13.22.
Trading volume was heavy on the New York Stock Exchange, with about 2.13 billion shares changing hands, well above last year’s estimated daily average of 1.49 billion, while on the Nasdaq, about 3 billion shares traded, above last year’s daily average of 2.28 billion.
Advancing stocks outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by 1,868 to 1,117 while on the Nasdaq, there were 1,565 advancers and 1,084 decliners.
Editing by Jan Paschal