Stocks Slip on Oil Patch

After getting a one-day reprieve from rising oil prices, stocks were back on the defensive again on Friday.

In midday trade, the Dow, S&P and Nasdaq were all down around 1% on light pre-holiday trading volume, and breadth and volume were decidedly to the downside. Rising oil prices, another drop in the dollar and rising home inventories all contributed to the decline that has sent stocks tumbling this week after touching four-month highs on Monday.

CA (NYSE: CA) shares jumped 4.6% after the company reported a profit and offered guidance that was ahead of Wall Street expectations. Verigy (NASDAQ: VRGY) surged 11% on its results, while (NASDAQ: REDF) fell by that much on its numbers.

Yahoo (NASDAQ: YHOO) lost ground after a director resigned and the company delayed its shareholders’ meeting until late July as it tried to fend off a proxy battle with billionaire investor Carl Icahn.

Dell (NASDAQ: DELL) continued to rally ahead of its quarterly results next week, up by nearly 2% on a Morgan Stanley upgrade. The company has benefited from the lack of a negative earnings pre-announcement and the perception that HP (NYSE: HPQ) could get distracted by its acquisition of EDS (NYSE: EDS).

Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) rose 1.6% on upgrades from Merrill Lynch and Goldman Sachs. Both firms cited iPhone prospects for the upbeat outlook.

Sun (NASDAQ: JAVA) fell 3.6% on a Morgan Stanley downgrade, while National Semi (NYSE: NSM) benefited from a Deutsche Bank upgrade.

The Nasdaq was down 22 to 2442, the S&P was lower by 15 to 1378, and the Dow was off 106 to 12,519.

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