U.S. stocks closed slightly lower Friday, with financials lagging, following some renewed concern of geopolitical tension.
Reuters reported in late morning trade that a Chinese Navy warship has seized an underwater drone deployed by an American oceanographic vessel in international waters in the South China Sea, triggering a formal diplomatic protest from the United States and a demand for its return, a U.S. defense official told the newswire.
"Traders are going to want to see if this escalates at all from the White House and see how this unfolds over the weekend," said Quincy Krosby, market strategist at Prudential Financial. "It could be one of the things that dissipates in the news but it could be one of the headlines that gains momentum into next week."
The three major indexes gave up slight opening gains to close lower, with the Nasdaq composite the worst performer, down over a third of a percent. The tech-heavy index and S&P 500 ended slightly lower for the week, while the Dow Jones industrial average posted its first six-week win streak since November 2015.
Goldman Sachs contributed the most to declines in the Dow in the close, while financials were the most performer in the S&P 500. The benchmark index closed nearly 4 points lower at 2,258.07.
"A little world tension. The markets sold off exactly when that news story came out," said Peter Coleman, head trader at Convergex.
Following the China news, U.S. Treasury yields edged lower, gold prices climbed, and the yen strengthened against the dollar in a safe-haven trade.
"The Treasury market is at or near record shorts, and this led to a meaningful bounce in the market as we head into a week with very little on the calendar," Ian Lyngen of BMO Capital Markets said, pointing out the 10-year yield fell from about 2.62 to 2.56 percent.