By Medha Singh
(Reuters) – US stocks struggled on Friday to extend their rally to a third day in a row, weighed down by a decline in the energy and technology sector at the end of the week that has seen markets swing wildly.
Sunday began with the worst Christmas decline on Wall Street, followed by a 1,000-point jump plus the Dow Jones Industrial Average on Wednesday and a stunning reversal on Thursday that ensured a two-day rise.
The trend continued on Friday when the three main indices drifted between gains and losses. The swing, though, to a lower level, with the S & P 500 rising as much as 0.78 percent before falling 0.64 percent to the lowest level of the session.
Technology () shares, which had pushed rally earlier this year and were at the center of the recent pullback, were flat, while energy () shares slipped 0.33 percent.
The ones holding the market are the financial () and health () sectors, each of which rose by about 0.4 percent.
"We are seeing some big steps today and I hope the wild journey will continue, as we have seen in the last few trading days," said Ryan Nauman, market strategist at Informa Financial Intelligence in Zephyr Cove, Nevada.
"Since early October, investors have been more defensive. Instead of buying, they sell rallies. They are looking to take profits when they can," Nauman added.
One damper was a report showing the contract to buy previously owned houses fell unexpectedly in November, the latest sign of weakness in the US housing market.
At 11:36 ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average () rose 20.07 points, or 0.09 percent, to 23,158.89, while the S & P 500 () rose 2.33 points, or 0.09 percent, at 2,491.16 . The Nasdaq Composite () rose 5.59 points, or 0.08 percent, at 6,585.08.
While the three indices are in a step to take a series of three consecutive weeks of losses, they are still down around 9 percent for December and are on track for the biggest annual percentage decline since 2008.
Investors are heading for 2019 with a list of concerns ranging from US-China trade tensions, rising interest rates and cooling economies to the closure of some US governments, which start on Saturday.
Among stocks, Tesla Inc. (O 🙂 rose 2.9 percent after the name of the maker of electric cars Oracle Corp (N 🙂 co-founder Larry Ellison and executive Walgreens Boots Alliance (O 🙂 Kathleen Wilson-Thompson as two independent board directors.
The advanced problem exceeds the number of decliners with a ratio of 1.59 to 1 on the NYSE and a ratio of 1.66 to 1 on Nasdaq.
The S & P index recorded no new 52-week highs and no new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded four new highs and 52 new lows.