Wall Street Lower as Options Expiry Nears; Dow Down 90 Pts

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Investing.com — U.S. stock markets opened mixed on Friday and turned negative by mid-morning, overshadowed by the ‘quadruple witching’ expiry of the quarterly options contracts on both single stocks and index futures that have so dominated trading in the last three months..

By 11:37 AM ET, (1537 GMT), the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 90 points, or 0.33%. The S&P 500 was down 0.7% and the Nasdaq Composite was down 1.1% after falling on Thursday.

Options expiry days have the potential to generate considerable volatility, although that usually comes later in the session. Consequently, the major economic releases of the day are likely to garner less attention than otherwise. The University of Michigan’s consumer sentiment index rose to 78.0 from 74.1, beating expectations, while earlier, the government reported the U.S. current account deficit leaped to its widest since 2008 in the second quarter of this year.

Oracle (NYSE:ORCL) stock fell 0.2% amid reports that President Donald Trump had issued an executive order to ban downloads of the TikTok app from Sunday, casting doubt on the ability of Larry Ellison’s firm to find a way of reconciling the various interests of Washington, Beijing and TikTok owner Bytedance. Facebook (NASDAQ:FB), whose social networks compete with TikTok for the public’s eyeballs, rose 1.1% on the same news.

Financial stocks were down slightly on the back of the Federal Reserve’s statement on Thursday that it was looking at extending the restraints on bank share buybacks and dividends that it had ordered earlier in the year. Citigroup (NYSE:C) stock was down 0.9% while Bank of America  (NYSE:BAC) stock rose 0.4%.

Elsewhere, cloud data company Snowflake continued to hold on to most of the gains it made on its debut-day pop. Snowflake (NYSE:SNOW) stock fell a modest 0.3%, and Jfrog (NASDAQ:FROG), another software company that IPOed earlier this week, rose 1.3%.  Video games publisher Unity Software (NYSE:U), which priced its IPO on Thursday at $52 a share. above a bookbuilding range that had already been raised once, was indicated at around $57-$59 in early dealings.

Oil & gas stocks were under fresh pressure as oil prices reversed again in response to reports of a peace agreement in Libya that would release almost 1 million barrels a day to the world market. Exxon Mobil (NYSE:XOM) stock fell 1.5% to be on course for its lowest weekly close since March.

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