Stocks ended lower on Friday as investors assessed the latest updates on the trade front. The Dow reversed early session gains and fell 159 points, losing 1.1% for the week. The S&P 500 was off 0.5% to cap a 0.5% weekly decline. The Nasdaq Composite shed 0.8%, retreating 0.7% for the week.
News that a Chinese trade delegation cancelled their planned visit to the American heartland and returned to China earlier than anticipated weighed on investor sentiment. The in-person deputy level negotiations came ahead of the high-level meetings slated for October. Meanwhile, volatility in equity markets were likely amplified today due to “quadruple witching,” a quarterly phenomenon in which options and futures on indexes and stocks expire on a single day. Perceived “safe-haven” assets caught a bid, with COMEX gold jumping 1.1% to $1,516.40/ounce. Treasuries strengthened along the curve, with the yield on the benchmark 10-year note slumping eight basis points to 1.71%. In central bank news, Boston Fed President Eric Rosengren, a dissenting voter at the most recent FOMC meeting, suggested the recent monetary stimulus was unwarranted due to a tight labor market.
Eight of 11 S&P 500 sectors finished in negative territory. The Communication Services and Technology stocks led the decliners, with both groups losing more than 1%. Shares of Netflix slipped 5.6% following cautious analyst commentary surrounding the streaming giant’s ability to increase subscriptions. Etsy advanced 2.4% following an analyst upgrade of the company. In commodities, WTI crude was off 0.1% to $58.09/barrel, but notched its best weekly advance since June.