The Dow Jones Industrial Average drifted lower on Friday, as investors turned their attention to a crucial French election that many consider to be a bellwether of anti-EU sentiment in the region.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.2% to 20,547.76. The benchmark was down as much as 0.4% earlier.
Eighteen Dow 30 companies finished in the red, with Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: V) leading the decline. The telecom blue-chip fell 2.4% in the wake of a disappointing earnings report earlier in the week.
Shares of General Electric Co (NYSE: GE) fell 2.4%. IBM Corp (NYSE: IBM) and JPMorgan Chase & Co (NYSE: JPM) closed down 1.2% apiece.
On the opposite side of the ledger, Microsoft Corp (NASDAQ: MSFT) advanced 1.4%. United Technologies Corp (NYSE: UTX) and The Home Depot Inc. (NYSE: HD) each rose 0.9%.
Wall Street faced broad declines on Friday, with the large-cap S&P 500 Index closing own 0.3% at 2,348.69. The Nasdaq Composite Index pared losses to finish down 0.1% at 5,910.52.
Anxiety over France’s upcoming election is rising after a terrorist shooting on the Champs-Elysees forced an early end to the campaign. Latest polls show a tight-nit race between independent Emmanuel Macron and the National Front’s Marine Le Pen. Both candidates are expected to narrowly outperform Republican Francois Fillon and Communist-backed Jean-Luc Melenchon to advance to the second-round run-off in two weeks’ time.
Markets are especially concerned about Le Pen, who has vowed to close France’s borders and exit the euro once elected. Investors can expect a volatile start to Monday trading should the far-right populist leader advance past the first round.
France’s presidential election will be held this Sunday, with preliminary results scheduled to be released later in the evening.
Dow Jones Industrial Average