US stocks end lower as Greece keeps traders cautious

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NEW YORK CITY: US stocks eased from the week’s highs on Friday as traders became cautious ahead of a fraught-filled weekend for Greece and the eurozone.

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Giving up more than half of Thursday’s gains, the Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 101.56 points (0.56 percent) at 18,014.28, and the broad-based S&P 500 fell 11.48 (0.54 percent) to 2,109.76.

After sweeping to a new record Thursday, the Nasdaq Composite Index shed 15.95 points (0.31 percent) at 5,117.00.

The mild sell-off came as Greece and its official creditors entered the weekend with no deal on more financial aid to Athens in sight, and the cash-short country facing a June 30 deadline to repay 1.5 billion euros ($1.7 billion) to the International Monetary Fund.

“Greece is obviously on everyone’s mind; it could be just positioning ahead of that potential for volatility on Monday,” said Charlie Bilello of Pension Partners. “Why take the risk over the weekend if you don’t have to?”

ConAgra Foods jumped 10.9 percent as hedge fund Jana Partners reported amassing a 7.2 percent stake and moved for three board seats in an effort to change management direction and boost the company’s value, complaining of poor performance in the wake of the 2013 $6.7 billion purchase of RalCorp.

Also in play was home lifestyle and furnishing group Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, which added another 8.4 percent on top of Thursday’s surge on news that retail fashion brands investor Sequential Brands Group was nearing agreement to buy the iconic firm.

AFP

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