US stocks dip with oil prices, but finish the week higher

The chanmpionship Villanova men’s basketball team attended the opening bell ceremony Friday at the New York Stock Exchange.

N U.S. stocks took small losses in quiet trading Friday as energy companies sank with the price of oil, but the market finished higher for the week.

The price of oil fell 3 percent and made energy companies the worst performing sector of the market. Utility companies rose as bond yields decreased, and metals and mining companies rose as gold and silver prices edged higher.

For the week, the market was propelled higher by quarterly financial results from big banks that were less ugly than investors were bracing for. The market quieted, though, toward the end of the week.

“We’re in a wait and see market,” said Kate Warne, investment strategist for Edward Jones. “People are still skeptical about earnings growth in the first quarter, but there’s no longer the grave concern there was a few weeks ago.”

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 28.97 Friday to close at 17,897.46. The Dow rose 1.8 percent for the week.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 index lost 2.05 Friday to 2,080.73 but finished the week up 1.6 percent.

The Nasdaq composite index dipped 7.67 to 4,938.22. For the week it was up 1.8 percent.

U.S. crude fell $1.14 to $40.36 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, the international benchmark, lost 74 cents, or 1.7 percent, to $43.10 a barrel in London. The prices of wholesale gasoline, heating oil and natural gas also slumped.

Ministers from major oil-producing countries will meet this weekend in Qatar to discuss their production policies. The price of oil has risen in recent weeks in part on hopes that those countries will be able to strike a deal that will limit oil production and help relieve a global glut. But a deal is far from a sure thing, and oil prices have slipped in recent days.

“Many of us are skeptical about whether there will be an agreement and even more skeptical about whether that will stabilize oil prices where they are now,” Warne said, because even if countries keep oil production near current levels, they’ll still be producing more than necessary to meet demand.

Utility companies, the best performing group of stocks on the market this year, made the largest gains Friday. Investors are being drawn to their relatively high dividend payouts because rising bond prices are lowering the yields investors can earn from bonds. Edison International rose $1.02, or 1.5 percent, to $71.06 and NextEra Energy rose $1.28, or 1.1 percent, to $117.43.

Bond prices rose and the yield on the 10-year U.S. Treasury note declined to 1.75 percent from 1.79 percent.

Citigroup said Friday its first quarter profit shrank 27 percent on weak results from its consumer bank and trading businesses, but the bank’s net income and revenue were greater than expected. The stock fell 6 cents to $44.92, but still finished the week 11 percent higher.

Bank holding company Regions Financial, which has operations in Charleston, also reported a bigger profit and greater revenue than expected. Its stock added 26 cents, or 3.1 percent, to $8.74.