Flattish day for stocks masks Amazon-for-Whole Foods turmoil

|By:, SA News Editor

Stocks finished little changed on the day, although the Dow's 0.1% gain was enough for its 21st record close of the year.

Six of the 11 S&P industry groups ended in the red, with consumer staples (-1%) leading the retreat following Amazon's $13.7B deal for Whole Foods (+29.1%); big-box and grocery retailers such as Wal-Mart (-4.6%), Costco (-7.2%) and Kroger (-9.2%) plunged as AMZN's move likely means increased competition within the space.

Retailers within the consumer discretionary sector (unchanged) such as Target (-5.1%) also faced selling pressure, pushing the SPDR S&P Retail ETF 1.2% lower, but the sector was balanced in large part by AMZN's 2.4% advance.

Tech stocks (-0.2%) also ended negative as Apple fell 1.4%, extending its loss for the week to 4.5%.

The energy sector (+1.7%) easily topped today's leaderboard, as crude oil bounced back with a 0.6% gain to $44.74/bbl, but WTI crude finished the week lower by 2.4%.

Treasury prices rose following a weaker than expected batch of economic data; the benchmark 10-year yield fell a basis point to 2.15% while the two-year yield shed 3 bps to 1.33%.

For the week, the S&P eked out a gain of less than 0.1% and the Dow rose 0.5% but the Nasdaq ended with a 0.9% loss.

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