US stocks drop on Syria concerns

US stocks drop on Syria concerns

NEW YORK - Agence France-Presse
US stocks drop on Syria concerns

A stock trader works the floor of the New York Stock Exchange on Aug. 27. AFP photo

U.S. stocks closed a mostly downcast week on a sour note Aug. 30 following fresh indications the Obama administration plans military action against Syria.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 30.64 (0.21 percent) at 14,810.31.

The broad-based S&P 500 dropped 5.20 (0.32 percent) to 1,632.97, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index gave up 30.43 (0.84 percent) at 3,589.87.

Trade was light on the last session of the month and before the long holiday weekend. US financial markets will be closed Sept. 2 for the Labor Day federal holiday.

Uncertainty about Syria, coupled with uncertainty about the Federal Reserve's September policy meeting and low trading volumes, produced a "buyer's strike" this week, said David Levy, portfolio manager of Kenjol Capital Management.

"There's just no impetus to buy," Levy said. "We're heading into a three-day weekend with plenty of uncertainty and we're also heading into a month with quite a bit of uncertainty." Several leading technology companies had bad days, including Google (down 1.0 percent), Amazon (down 1.1 percent), Netflix (down 1.4 percent) and eBay (down 2.0 percent).

An exception was cloud computing company, which surged 12.6 percent after earnings came in at 9 cents per share, two cents above estimates. The company also reported better-than-expected revenues and raised its full-year profit forecast.

Splunk, which provides technology for managing data, gained 12.9 percent after revenues came in at $66.9 million instead of the analyst forecast of $63.1 million. The company listed more than a dozen new corporate customers and raised its full-year revenue forecast. US Airways and American Airlines parent AMR rose 1.3 percent and 4.4 percent, respectively, after a US judge set a November trial date for the government's antitrust lawsuit challenging their proposed merger, in a victory for the airlines. The Justice Department had proposed the trial start in March.

Independent oil and gas company Apache jumped 9.0 percent after announcing a deal with China's Sinopec to receive $3.1 billion in cash in exchange for granting Sinopec a 33 percent stake in a joint-venture to develop Apache's Egypt oil and gas business.

The deal reduces Apache's exposure to Egypt during a time of political upheaval in the North African country.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury bond held steady at 2.75 percent, while the 30-year dropped to 3.68 percent from 3.70 percent late Aug. 29. Prices and yields move inversely.