Closing Bell: Stocks End 7-Day Winning Spree with Slight Dip

Stocks fall in advance of fed meeting
Spencer Platt/Getty Images

U.S. stocks finished Thursday slightly lower, ending the longest rally since July as investors anticipated next week's meeting of Federal Reserve officials.

The Dow Jones industrial average (^DJI) fell 25 points, or 0.2 percent, to 15,300, the Standard & Poor's 500 index (^GPSC) dropped 5 points, or 0.3 percent, to 1,683 and the Nasdaq composite index (^IXIC) gave up 9 points, or 0.2 percent, to 3,715.

The last three days of gains have helped the Dow recover the bulk of its losses in August, the worst month for the blue chip index since May 2012.

Dell (DELL) will soon end its quarter-century history as a publicly traded company, following shareholder approval of a $24.8 billion buyout offer from the company's founder. At the end of a shareholders meeting Thursday, Dell officials said that based on preliminary results, there were enough votes in favor of CEO Michael Dell's buyout proposal. The deal is expected to be completed by Nov. 1.

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Yahoo's (YHOO) stock price surpassed $30 on Thursday for the first time since the Internet company fended off a takeover offer bid by Microsoft (MSFT) 5½ years ago. But shares ended the day just shy of the mark, up 1.6 percent to $29.65. The Sunnyvale, Calif., company reached the milestone as investors reacted to the latest evidence that its online services are becoming more compelling under CEO Marissa Mayer.

In an appearance at the TechCrunch Disrupt technology conference Wednesday, Mayer disclosed that the number of Yahoo's users has climbed 20 percent to about 800 million people since she defected to it from Google (GOOG) last year.

A day after announcing its largest change to the Dow Jones industrial average in nearly a decade, S&P Dow Jones Indices announced late Wednesday that Vertex Pharmaceuticals and Ametek will replace Advanced Micro Devices and SAIC in the S&P 500 after the close of trading Sept. 20.

Vertex (VRTX) shares gained 2 percent to $81.37, while Ametek (AME) rose 2.5 percent to $45.55. AMD (AMD) fell 1.8 percent to $3.75, but SAIC (SAI) edged up 1.3 percent to $14.96.

In other trading, the price of light sweet crude oil rose $1.17 to $108.73 a barrel, and gold fell $40 to $1,323.50 an ounce.

More Stocks in the News:

  • Shares of Lululemon Athletica (LULU) dropped after the high-end yoga apparel maker cut its forecast for sales and profit this year, due partly to a product recall. Lululemon lost 5.2 percent to $65.41.

  • Men's Wearhouse (MW) struggled after the company also cut its full-year profit forecast. The stock plunged more than 12 percent to $34.04.

  • Pandora Media (P) leaped more than 12 percent to $23.97. The online music streaming company said late Wednesday it was appointing former Microsoft executive Brian McAndrews as its new CEO.

  • NetSol Technologies (NTWK) jumped almost 10 percent to $11.19 after the software maker reported fourth-quarter earnings.

  • American Airlines parent AMR Corp.'s bid to emerge from bankruptcy won approval from a U.S. bankruptcy judge, but implementation still requires resolution of U.S. government moves to block its proposed merger with US Airways Group (LCC).

What to Watch Friday:

  • At 8:30 a.m. Eastern time, the Commerce Department releases retail sales data for August and the Labor Department releases the Producer Price Index for August.

  • At 9:55 a.m., the University of Michigan reports its initial survey of consumer sentiment for September.

  • At 10 a.m., the Commerce Department releases business inventories for July.

-Compiled from staff and wire reports.