The S&P 500 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average eased back on Friday after a steep drop in oil prices pressured energy stocks, but losses were limited by gains in chipmakers and retail stocks.
The prices of crude fell 4 percent to settle at $67.88 a barrel after Saudi Arabia and Russia said they were ready to ease supply curbs that have pushed prices to their highest since 2014.
The S&P energy index ended the trading day down 2.6 percent and registered its largest daily percentage drop since early February, while Chevron fell 3.5 percent and Exxon Mobil closed out the day down 1.9 percent. Those two companies were among the largest drags on the Dow and S&P 500.
The S&P 500 banks index fell 0.4 percent after Treasury yields hit their lowest level in three weeks.
Stock markets this week also have been roiled by trade tensions with China, a U.S. threat of imposing tariffs on imported cars and uncertainty over a U.S.-North Korea summit. Trump said on Friday the summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un could still take place on June 12 as originally planned, a day after canceling it.
For the week, the Dow was up 0.2 percent, the S&P 500 chalked up a gain of 0.3 percent and the Nasdaq was up 1.1 percent. Aiding the Nasdaq were the chip manufacturers, including Broadcom, which rose 2.7 percent and Intel, was up 1.3 percent.
A 20.2 percent rise in shares of Foot Locker helped the S&P consumer discretionary index, which rose 0.2 percent, after the company reported a better-than-expected quarterly profit and helped shares edge higher in Nike, which has a partnership with the footwear retailer. The S&P retail index rose 0.2 percent.
Trading volume was lighter than usual ahead of the long weekend, with markets shut on Monday for the Memorial Day holiday.
Approximately 5.8 billion shares changed hands on the major domestic equity exchanges, as compared to a 6.6 billion share daily average for the past 20 trading days, according to Thomson Reuters data.
Crude Down Again
The price of crude oil fell more than 2 percent on Friday as Saudi Arabia and Russia said they were ready to ease supply curbs that have pushed crude prices to their highest since 2014.
The energy ministers of the two major producers met in St. Petersburg to review the terms of the global oil supply pact that has been in place for 17 months, ahead of a key OPEC meeting in Vienna next month.
The ministers, along with their counterpart from the United Arab Emirates, discussed an output increase of about 1 million barrels per day (bpd).
Brent crude futures were down $1.77 at $77.02 a barrel, having hit their highest since late 2014 at $80.50 this month. West Texas Intermediate futures were at $68.84 a barrel, down $1.87.
OPEC and a group of non-OPEC producers led by Russia started withholding output in 2017 to tighten the market and prop up prices. As a result, global crude supplies have tightened sharply over the past year because of the OPEC-led cuts, which were boosted by a dramatic drop in Venezuelan production.
However, the near-doubling in oil prices over the past year has sparked concerns among top consuming nations such as China and India that the rally could weigh on economic growth.
OPEC Secretary-General Mohammad Barkindo said the idea of increasing output came following a critical tweet from Trump, who said last month that OPEC had “artificially” boosted oil prices.
Speaking in St. Petersburg, Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih, whose country is the de facto leader of OPEC, said any easing of restrictions on pumping levels would be gradual to avoid a shock to the market.
The prospect of renewed sanctions on Iran after Trump pulled out of an international nuclear deal with Tehran has further raised prices in recent weeks.