Stocks slipped in Friday morning trading, as falling oil prices dragged down energy companies, but the S&P 500 remained on track to close out its third straight winning week following a brutal December.
KEEPING SCORE: The S&P 500 was down 14 points, or 0.6 percent, at 2,582, as of 10 a.m. Eastern time. The Dow Jones industrial average fell 155, or 0.6 percent, to 23,846, and the Nasdaq composite lost 44, or 0.6 percent, to 6,942.
CRUDE CALL: Energy stocks in the S&P 500 fell 1 percent for the largest loss among the 11 sectors that make up the index. Exxon Mobil, Chevron and ConocoPhillips all dropped more than 1 percent.
Benchmark U.S. crude oil fell 81 cents, or 1.5 percent, to $51.75 per barrel and on pace to break a long winning streak. Oil has climbed for nine straight days, as it recovered a portion of sharp losses from prior months when worries flared about weakening demand and too much supply.
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Brent crude, the international standard, sank $1.07 to $60.61. If it remains down, it would be the first drop for oil in two weeks.
2019 RELIEF: The S&P 500 has been clawing back gains since running to the edge of what traders call a “bear market,” when it dropped 19.8 percent between setting a record in September and a low on Christmas Eve. Stocks have climbed on soothing words from the Federal Reserve about the future path of interest rates, plus hopes that the U.S.-China trade dispute may ease. That’s helped to at least paper over worries about slowing growth for corporate earnings and the possibility of a looming