4:05pm: US equities close down as Apple weighs on DJIA
The Dow Jones Industrial Average declined for a fifth straight trading day, as Apple, which fell 3%, weighed on the index.
On the day, the DJIA tanked by 271 points, or 0.78%, to 34,607, while the S&P 500 declined 0.77% to 4,458.
The tech-heavy Nasdaq also dropped 0.87% to 15,115.
12.05 pm: Dow poised for a fifth-straight losing day as producer prices jump
US stocks fell in noon trading, with the Dow down for a fifth-straight session, as investors appear to grow more cautious of the economic impact of rising coronavirus (COVID-19) delta variant cases.
At midday, the Dow fell 98 points to 34,781, while the S&P 500 eased 11 points at 4,482 and the tech-heavy Nasdaq edged 24 points lower to 15,224.
“You look at the markets and they’ve been amazingly calm and we think September is right for a pullback,” G Squared Wealth chief investment officer Victoria Greene said.
“We’re kind of in a purgatory,” Greene added.
The August producer prices index (PPI) released Friday showed wholesale costs for businesses increased 8.3% on an annual basis, its biggest advance on record since at least 2010.
IG senior market analyst Joshua Mahony noted that PPI inflation highlights damage caused by rising input prices.
Apple Inc (NASDAQ:AAPL) stock had the biggest impact on the Dow, as its shares were off more than 3% after a US judge ruled the consumer tech giant can no longer force developers to use in-app purchasing.
10.15am: Nasdaq in demand
US stocks were mixed in morning trade on Friday following a choppy week, with blue-chips lower but the broader market and the tech-powered Nasdaq Composite pushing higher.
The Nasdaq Composite was up 0.3%, with all the big tech top 10 in the green, led by Nvidia and Facebook, while the S&P 500 inched up 0.1%. But the Dow Jones Industrials Average shed 39 points, or 0.1% at 34,839.
Following the UK government's surprise dividend tax hike this week, US investors are now also looking at a potential tax on shareholders returns, with a Democrat proposal for a 2% tax on the amount spent by a publicly-traded company on stock buybacks.
"Stock buybacks are currently heavily favored by the tax code, despite their skewed benefits for the very top and potential for insider game-playing. Our bill simply ends this preferential treatment and encourages mega-corporations to invest in their workers," said one of the two senators proposing the bill.
6.45am: Positive end to a choppy week seen
US stocks look set to end a choppy positively, with muted gains expected at the start on Friday supported by higher commodity prices amid signs of an easing in tensions between the US and China.
Futures for the blue-chip Dow Jones Industrial Average and the broader S&P 500 index both edged up 0.3%, while those for the tech-laden Nasdaq-100 added 0.2%.
Investor sentiment improved after news of a call between US President Biden and and his Chinese counterpart President Xi Jinping. A White House statement said the “two leaders discussed the responsibility of both nations to ensure competition does not veer into conflict.”
Metal prices rallied after the phone call between Presidents Biden and Xi raised hopes of a potential reduction in tariffs between the US and China. Copper prices, which are sensitive to relations between the world’s two largest economies, rose 1.5%.
Oil prices also recovered some lost ground after retreating recently when a Chinese government agency said it would release crude from strategic reserves to ease strains on refiners.
In spite of falls throughout this week, US stocks remain close to record highs on the prospect that the Federal Reserve may soon start to taper its coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis stimulus measures but not hike interest rates amid signs that the spread of the Delta variant of the virus has induced a fresh slowdown in the US economic recovery.
Investors will have the latest US producer price wholesale inflation data to digest on Friday, due at 8.30am ET. Cleveland Fed President Loretta Mester is also scheduled to speak on monetary policy at a Bank of Finland event at 9am ET.