U.S. Market Weekly Summary – Week Ending 09.08.2017

S&P 500 Slips 0.6% on Week as Telecom, Financials Decline; Health Care, Energy Buck Drop
The Free Press WV

The Standard & Poor’s 500 index dropped 0.6% this week as declines in telecommunications and financials helped outweigh gains in health-care and energy stocks.

The market benchmark ended the week at 2,461.43, down from last week’s closing level of 2,476.55. This week’s move came in just four sessions as the market was closed Monday for the Labor Day holiday.

The telecommunications sector had the biggest percentage drop of the week, down 4.5%. Shares of AT&T (T) fell by slightly more than 5% on the week. At a conference Thursday, John Stankey, who is overseeing integration planning for the company’s merger with Time Warner (TWX), said he expects pay television “as we know it today is at peak and it’s going to continue to decline,“ adding “we are in a real difficult spot right now,“ according to a transcript by Seeking Alpha. Time Warner shares edged down 1.4% on the week.

The financial sector was the next-biggest decliner of the week, down 2.8%. Its tumble came as investors worried about the potential impact of hackers having gained access to some of credit-reporting company Equifax’s (EFX) systems. Following the attack, banks are expected to have to reissue cards from the approximately 209,000 credit cards stolen in the breach. Equifax shares ended the week down 13%; the stock dropped 14% in Friday’s session alone as investors digested the late-Thursday disclosure of the breach.

Also in the financial sector, insurance stocks were weighed down by concerns about the potential impact of hurricane Irma, especially at a time when the sector was already working to get a handle on claims submitted related to Hurricane Harvey. Among the decliners, Everest Re Group (RE) shares tumbled 10% while XL Group (XL) fell 4.9%.

On the upside, the health-care sector had the biggest percentage gain of the week, posting a 1.5% increase. The sector’s advancers included Abbvie (ABBV), which jumped 13% this week as the biopharmaceutical company said its upadacitinib treatment being tested in adult patients with moderate to severe atopic dermatitis met the primary endpoint in a phase 2b study.

The energy sector had the next-largest percentage gain of the week, up 1.3% as some Gulf Coast refineries restarted operations after hurricane Harvey had halted some of the refining industry in late August. The gainers included Valero Energy (VLO), which edged up 0.5% on the week.

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