February 3, 2018 / 12:15 AM / 2 years ago

Caution after Wall Street caps off worst week in years

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Signs that a long-awaited correction may have arrived on Wall Street will keep investors on edge on Monday after the S&P 500 closed off the week with its biggest percentage drop in two years.

A trader works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange shortly after the closing bell in New York, U.S., February 2, 2018. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

The S&P 500 has slumped 3.89 percent since hitting a record high a week ago, trimming its gain in 2018 to 3.2 percent.

With the S&P surging more than 20 percent over the past year, selloffs like Friday’s 2.12 percent drop have become rare. No session last year suffered a loss of 2 percent or more, and 2016 had only four declines of that magnitude.

“Sentiment was getting a little frothy, and we were developing some complacency in the market. Now that complacency is coming out of the market,” said Keith Lerner, chief market strategist at Suntrust Advisory Services in Atlanta.

(Graphic: Steep drops a fading memory on Wall Street - reut.rs/2DV4II1)

Among S&P 500 sectors, energy led decliners for the week, down 6.4 percent. Telecom Services got off the lightest with a 1.28 percent loss over five days.

(Graphic: S&P 500 sectors' weekly percent dips - reut.rs/2DWeSrY)

Chesapeake Energy Corp, Tractor Supply Co and Harley-Davidson Inc were the S&P 500’s worst performers for the week, each down more than 13 percent.

(Graphic: S&P 500's biggest weekly percent winners and losers - reut.rs/2DVwCnl)

The number of declining U.S. stocks for the week reached more than 27,000, the most since at least July 2014.

(Graphic: U.S. weekly stock increases at lowest since at least July 2014 - reut.rs/2DVTAuy)

Fewer than 12,000 U.S. stocks advanced for the week, the lowest on Wall Street since at least July 2014.

(Graphic: U.S. weekly stocks hitting yearly lows at highest since 2016 - reut.rs/2DWPmD7)

The number of U.S. stocks hitting yearly lows this week reached 3,000, an amount not seen since 2016.

(Graphic: U.S. weekly stocks hitting yearly highs at lowest since Septembe - reut.rs/2EzHiZP)

Just over 2,500 U.S. stocks hit yearly highs this week, the lowest number since September.

(Graphic: No of U.S. stock issue declines by week - reut.rs/2EysbQq)

Investors next week will look cautiously to wrangling in Congress over the country’s finances.

“Working against the market is the Feb. 8, 2018 spending deadline, the upcoming debt limit issue (both Washington), and the speed of rising interest rates (which are still relatively low),” S&P Dow Jones Indices senior index analyst Howard Silverblatt wrote in a report.

Reporting by Noel Randewich; Editing by Matthew Lewis

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