S&P 500 heads for a flat end to volatile 2015

Commentary, News, S&P 500
Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange shortly after the opening bell in New York December 30, 2015. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson
Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange shortly after the opening bell in New York December 30, 2015. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

Wall Street slipped lower in thin trading on Thursday, with the S&P 500 heading for an almost flat ending to a volatile year of record highs and steep drops.

All three major U.S. stock indexes hit record highs this year but have since climbed down after crude’s steep loss sent energy stocks tumbling.

The Dow Jones industrial average was down about 1.4 percent for the year but the Nasdaq Composite was up 6.7 percent.

“As we close out of the year, it’s been a tale of two tapes, with narrow leadership holding up the major indices, while the vast majority of the market continues to underperform,” said Adam Sarhan, chief executive of Sarhan Capital in New York.

“The big story today as investors wrap up the year is that after all that’s said and done, it’s a flat year for the S&P 500,” Sarhan said.

The rout in commodities has sent markets across the world reeling as oil prices floundered under an unprecedented global glut that may take another year to clear. [O/R]

The S&P energy sector .SPNY lost nearly 24 percent in 2015, followed by a near 10 percent loss in materials .SPLRCM.

Eight of the 10 worst performers on the S&P this year are energy companies, led by Chesapeake Energy’s (CHK.N) 78 percent decline.

The consumer discretionary sector .SPLRCD, on the other hand, has been the best performer on the S&P, rising 9.4 percent, led by Netflix’s (NFLX.O) 140 percent increase and Amazon’s (AMZN.O) 121 percent gain.

Consumer stocks also took the top three spots on the Dow, led by Nike’s (NKE.N) 31 percent increase.

At 12:28 p.m. ET on Thursday, the Dow .DJI was down 26.67 points, or 0.15 percent, at 17,577.2, the S&P 500 .SPX was down 3.17 points, or 0.15 percent, at 2,060.19 and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC was down 14.29 points, or 0.28 percent, at 5,051.56.

Six of the 10 major S&P sectors were lower, led by the 1.07 percent fall in the utilities sector .SPLRCU.

Apple (AAPL.O) was down 1.4 percent at $105.81 and was the biggest drag on all three indexes.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners on the NYSE by 1,504 to 1,441. On the Nasdaq, 1,534 issues fell and 1,248 advanced.

The S&P 500 index showed no new 52-week highs and two new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 22 new highs and 53 new lows.

(Reporting by Abhiram Nandakumar in Bengaluru; Editing by Don Sebastian)

Read this article in its original format at Reuters.com

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