The Dow and the S&P 500 fell on Friday as a jump in the savings rate indicated that the debt-burdened consumer may not drive the economy out of recession as fast as hoped, and a slide in crude futures prompted investors to sell some energy shares.
Nasdaq was up slightly, helped partly by gains in Palm Inc
Data showed that while consumer spending and income both rose in May as the government stimulus spread through the economy, much of the money was being stored away. Savings jumped to a record annual rate of $768.8 billion, the highest level since record keeping began in 1959.
The consumer is not going to completely hibernate although the consumer is not going to be the same force as was the case when coming out of the previous recession, said Henry Smith, chief investment officer of Haverford Trust Co in Philadelphia. Ultimately, this expansion will be characterized as a below- average, slower expansion.
I don't think it is going to be any surprise that savings have to come up, that the consumer has to deleverage, Smith added. This is not a short-term phenomenon. This is going to play out over several years.
Energy shares weighed as oil futures fell below $70 a barrel after oil producer Nigeria said it would halt a battle with rebels during a two-month amnesty.
However, some early cyclical stocks outperformed the market as investors continue to bank on an economic recovery further out toward the end of this year or earlier next year. U.S. Steel Corp
The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> dropped 56.61 points, or 0.67 percent, to 8,415.79. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> fell 4.38 points, or 0.48 percent, to 915.88. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> gained 2.12 points, or 0.12 percent, to 1,831.66.
Boosted by Palm, other smartphone makers' shares also rose, including Apple Inc
Weighing down the Dow industrials were energy bellwethers Chevron Corp
Analysts noted stocks were buffeted by profit taking after Thursday's 2 percent gain, as well as by end-of-quarter window dressing. This can add volatility as portfolio managers sell stocks with big losses and buy some of the quarter's best-performing issues to help improve their returns.
The broad S&P had rallied as much as 40 percent from March's 12-1/2-year closing low, but the run-up has stalled as initial optimism about a stabilizing economy was tempered by worries the recovery could be tepid. The index is up 35.4 percent from the March trough.
(Editing by Jan Paschal)