U.S. stocks declined on Friday, with the Dow industrials and S&P 500 recording their worst month since May 2012, as Wall Street considered a possible U.S. strike against Syria.
Skeleton crews appeared to be manning the trading desks though and it was hard to put that much trust in this week’s moves.
Meeting with the presidents of Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia, President Barack Obama on Friday afternoon called the use of chemical weapons a “challenge to the world.”
The president’s words followed the release of U.S. intelligence that found the Syrian government to be behind a chemical attack that killed 1,429 people in a suburb of Damascus.
In a nationally televised statement Friday afternoon, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry condemned the “indiscriminate and inconceivable horror of chemical weapons,” while outlining Washington’s case against the Syrian government in a deadly attack in Syria last week.
Across the board, all major indices tallied weekly and monthly losses.
Up 13% for the year, the Dow Jones Industrial Average on Friday declined as much as 78 points, but closed down 30.64 points, or 0.2%, to 14,810.31, a level that left it with a 1.3% drop on the week and down 4.5% for the month.
Consumer discretionary fed sector declines and consumer staples and utilities were the only advancing sectors among the 10 major industry groups on the S&P 500 index, which lost 5.21 points, or 0.3%, to 1,632.96, down 1.8% for the week and off 3.1% for the month. The Nasdaq Composite fell 30.43 points, or 0.8%, to 3,589.86. It slid 1.9% for the week and 1% for the month.
Eight of 10 sectors were down on the session. Technology was the worst performing group. Apple slid 0.9% to $487.22 as the company began its iPhone trade-in program. Financials and industrials also underperformed. ADT lost 2.2% to $39.83. Hartford Financial fell 1.1% to $29.60. Saleforce.com was the best performing stock in the S&P 500 today, rallying 12.6% to $49.13 on its increased full year forecast.
Breadth was negative on issues by 5-2 on the NYSE and 3-1 on the NASDAQ. NYSE Composite volume totaled more than 2.6 billion shares.
Treasuries were mostly lower with the 10-year note down 4/32 to yield 2.78%. With today’s decline, the Dow ended August down 4.5%. The S&P 500 lost 3.1% for the month while the NASDAQ fell 1.0%.