US stocks retreat, banking shares lead decline


Wall Street stocks finished lower Friday following profit taking in banking shares and some other equities that had scored big gains in the post-election rally.

Bank of America (Swiss: BAC-USD.SW - news) lost 2.2 percent and Goldman Sachs (NYSE: GS-PB - news) shed 1.7 percent in reversals of the large gains seen since the November 8 election prompted a big rally in the sector.

Analysts also cited a disappointing home construction report, which showed a steeper decline than expected in new residential building in November.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average dipped less than 0.1 percent at 19,843.41.

The broad-based S&P 500 shed 0.2 percent to 2,258.07, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index declined 0.4 percent to 5,437.16.

Software (IOB: 0NJS.IL - news) company Oracle (NYSE: ORCL - news) slumped 4.4 percent after reporting a 7.5 percent decline in second-quarter earnings to $2.0 billion. Some analysts expressed disappointment with the company's outlook.

Gilead Sciences (NasdaqGS: GILD - news) shed 1.9 percent after a US jury ordered it to pay $2.5 billion to competitor Merck (LSE: 0O14.L - news) in a patent infringement case involving a drug used to treat hepatitis C. Merck rose 0.1 percent. Gilead said it would appeal the ruling.

Chipotle Mexican Grill (Frankfurt: A0ESP5 - news) rose 2.5 percent as it appointed four new directors to its board, winning praise from activist investor Bill Ackman as the burrito chain tries to reignite sales after a series of food-safety problems.

General Electric (Euronext: GNE.NX - news) rose 1.6 percent following an upgrade from investment firm Bernstein.