Closing Bell: Stocks Sink on Syria Worries, Downbeat Economic Data

Wall Street stocks investing oil prices syria earnings
Richard Drew/AP
Stocks moved lower Friday, slumping on worries of a possible U.S.-led conflict in Syria and disappointing news on consumer spending and sentiment.

The Dow Jones industrial average (^DJI) fell 30 points, or 0.2 percent, to 14,810, the Standard & Poor's 500 index (^GPSC) lost 5 points, or 0.3 percent, to 1,633 and the Nasdaq composite index (^IXIC) ended the week down 30 points, or 0.8 percent, to 3,590.

Trading was volatile, with sharp swings between breakeven and losses as Secretary of State John Kerry said in televised remarks that Syria's government had used poison gas against civilians, and made the case for a limited military response.

President Barack Obama said later he hasn't made a final decision on the U.S. response to Syria's actions.

Uncertainty has weighed on the market in recent weeks. Investors are still wondering whether the Federal Reserve will begin scaling back its bond-buying support for the economy in September. But the latest wild card is Syria. The possibility that the U.S. could strike Bashar al-Assad's regime has pushed oil prices generally upward. Still, U.S. benchmark oil dipped $1.15 to $107.65 a barrel in NYMEX trading.

In economic news, data pointing to weak individual spending and tame inflation painted a picture of a soft economy, which kept investors guessing about whether the Federal Reserve might soon start to cut back on its economic stimulus measures.

A report from the Commerce Department showed consumer spending rose only 0.1 percent and inflation was minimal in July, with the price index for consumer spending up 0.1 percent.

Meanwhile, the University of Michigan's final reading on the overall index on consumer sentiment slipped to 82.1 in August from 85.1 in July, but managed to top economist expectations for a final read of 80.5.

In company news, Omnivision Technologies (OVTI) tumbled 16 percent to $15.45 after the chipmaker forecast current-quarter adjusted profit largely below expectations as rising competition and a slowdown of U.S. smartphone sales led to an inventory pile-up.

More Stocks in the News:
  • General Electric (GE) reportedly plans to spin off the credit-card division of its GE Capital unit through an initial public offering. The IPO could come early next year, according to The Wall Street Journal. Overall, investors barely reacted: GE's stock rose 3 cents to $23.14.
  • Big Lots (BIG) gained 2.3 percent to $35.42. Early Friday, the operator of discount-stores reported lower quarterly earnings and U.S. sales, but its overall results still topped analyst estimates.
  • Krispy Kreme Doughnuts (KKD) plunged 15 percent. Late Thursday, the company posted a drop in quarterly profits, coming in below analyst estimates, even though sales climbed. Krispy Kreme's stock lost $3.51 to $19.72.
  • (CRM) soared more than 12 percent to $49.13 after the company raised its fiscal 2014 sales outlook after reporting better-than-expected revenue and earnings.
  • Apache (APA) climbed almost 9 percent to $85.68 after the oil and gas producer said it was selling a 33 percent stake in its Egypt oil and gas business for $3.1 billion to China's state-owned oil-giant, Sinopec Group.
Most markets will be closed Monday for the Labor Day holiday.

What to Watch Tuesday:
  • At 10 a.m. Eastern time, the Institute for Supply Management releases its manufacturing index for August, and the Commerce Department releases construction spending for July.
  • Dollar General (DG) reports quarterly corporate earnings.
-Compiled from staff and wire reports.

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Creighton Stolarz

Any stocks at 52 week low are likely to go up in price in the next 52 weeks. So, if you are looking for stocks that are at its low points, you should check out 52 week low charts at Barchart. These charts will reveal what stocks you should consider investing in and which you shouldn’t just yet.

September 04 2013 at 4:41 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

After about 30 minutes of lecture I did not discover the name of your hyped stock as promised. I discovered a typically long-winded sales pitch for The Motley Fool.,

September 03 2013 at 4:26 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Barry, still playing cards & getting in a few rounds of golf while screwing up America????

September 01 2013 at 8:58 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

I thought GDP was up 2.5% for the first qtr and everything was Rosey, Ginger Peachy ...
go figure

August 31 2013 at 11:43 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to paul's comment

Stocks are up. Stocks are down. Stock are up. Stocks are down. Invest is yo yos.

August 31 2013 at 12:17 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

It's been "up" since that fool got in the WH. Anything to keep the liberals in office, to destroy everything this country stands for.


August 31 2013 at 10:27 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

Warren Buffett is still doing ok during the stock crisis?

August 31 2013 at 4:32 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Chad Griffin

Funny! Just yesterday the headline read ''Stocks up on economic data" now today it's "stock lose on downbeat economic news". You may fool the people some of the time but not all the people all the time.

August 30 2013 at 11:27 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Just yesterday I read that the market shook of Syria worries. Now it is worried about Syria? Either the market is dysfunctional, or you are making up garbage here just to fill space.

August 30 2013 at 9:54 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

Blaming Conservatives only illustrates how weak Socialist Liberalism is against a free market economy. Bush has been gone for nearly five years. Git ovah it!

August 30 2013 at 9:42 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply


August 30 2013 at 8:48 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Good thing markets are closed for the weekend.

August 30 2013 at 8:45 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Poppy's comment

And this Monday to boot!

August 30 2013 at 9:43 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply