US STOCKS-Wall Street little changed after two-day run

Fri Dec 19, 2014 8:22pm IST

Stocks

   

* Blackberry falls after results

* Brent holds near $60 a barrel

* Indexes: Dow off 0.09 pct, S&P up 0.05 pct, Nasdaq off 0.2 pct (Adds quote, updates prices)

By Chuck Mikolajczak

NEW YORK, Dec 19 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks were little changed on Friday, after the Federal Reserve's most recent policy statement sparked the best two-day run for the benchmark S&P 500 in three years.

The S&P had climbed 4.5 percent over the previous two sessions, spurred by the U.S. Federal Reserve's commitment Wednesday to take a "patient" approach toward raising interest rates while signaling it was on track to raise rates in 2015. That provided clarity and relief to investors over the policy outlook, analysts said.

Brent crude oil advanced to hover just above $60 a barrel on Friday, recovering from near a 5-1/2-year low while WTI crude climbed 3 percent to $55.68.

"Basically, all we are doing is recovering from the oil-induced selloff, it's kind of coming back to where we were about two weeks ago," said Peter Jankovskis, co-chief investment officer at OakBrook Investments LLC in Lisle, Illinois.

"We have digested the drop in oil, we have gotten past the Fed, and now we will see what we will do for the rest of the year."

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 15.51 points, or 0.09 percent, to 17,762.64, the S&P 500 gained 1.12 points, or 0.05 percent, to 2,062.35 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 9.32 points, or 0.2 percent, to 4,739.08.

Equity trading may be volatile Friday due to "quadruple witching," the expiration of stock options, index options, index futures and single-stock futures. In addition, the rebalance of the S&P 500 is scheduled to take effect after the close.

U.S.-listed shares of Blackberry dropped 7.8 percent to $9.28 after the company posted a small adjusted third-quarter profit and returned to positive cash flow, but revenue declined more than expected.

Cerus Corp shares jumped 7.5 percent to $6.62 after the company said the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved its blood transfusion device for platelets.

Shares in Ally Financial were up 4.2 percent to $23.70. The company said the U.S. Treasury Department will sell the remaining 54.9 million shares of the company acquired under the government's bailout of the auto lender.

Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by 1,444 to 1,324, for a 1.09-to-1 ratio; on the Nasdaq, 1,528 issues fell and 820 advanced for a 1.86-to-1 ratio favoring decliners.

The benchmark S&P 500 index was posting 89 new 52-week highs and 5 new lows; the Nasdaq Composite was recording 49 new highs and 19 new lows. (Editing by Bernadette Baum)