The Dow, S&P 500 and Nasdaq all closed lower though fears of an outright U.S.-Iran war seeming to have lessened if oil prices are any kind of proxy. WTI oil prices slid about 1% to $62.70 a
barrel, retreating from an eight-month closing high as investors continue to assess whether tensions between the U.S. and Iran will lead to any disruptions in oil supplies.
ECONOMIC EVENTS: In the U.S., the trade deficit narrowed 8.2% to $43.1B in November versus October. The ISM non-manufacturing services index rose 1.1 points to 55.0 from a 53.9 figure in November. Factory orders declined 0.7% in November.
Meanwhile, U.S. President Donald Trump said via Twitter that he had a "very good meeting" with Saudi Arabia's Minister of Defense Khalid bin Salman. "We discussed Trade, Military, Oil Prices, Security, and Stability in the Middle East!" the president said.
TOP NEWS: Shares of Apache (APA) jumped 26.8% after the company and partner Total S.A. (TOT) announced a "significant" oil discovery at the Maka Central-1 well drilled offshore Suriname. BofA analyst Doug Leggate, who sees this news as "potential game changer" for the investment case, upgraded Apache to Buy with a price target of $36 following the discovery news, while JPMorgan analyst Arun Jayaram upgraded Apache to Neutral from Underweight, stating that he thinks the market could give Apache credit for $2.2B in net value from Suriname.
Shares of T-Mobile (TMUS) rose fractionally after the stock was upgraded at Nomura Instinet. Analyst Jeffrey Kvaal said he believes the company's deal to acquire Sprint (S) is more likely to break, but he considers T-Mobile shareholders winners in either a deal or no deal scenario.
Meanwhile, Bloomberg reported that Boeing (BA) is reversing its prior position and will recommend flight-simulator training for pilots of the 737 MAX. The plane maker has started notifying regulators and airlines of its decision, and is exploring modifying simulators of an older 737 model to train pilots given the shortage of simulators designed specifically for the Max, a source told Bloomberg. Of note, Longbow analyst Chris Olin became the first analyst on Wall Street with a sell-equivalent rating on Boeing this morning when he initiated coverage of the stock with an Underperform rating and $300 price target.
Additionally, the New York Times reported that Sonos (SONO) is suing Google (GOOG) in two federal court systems, targeting financial damages and a ban on the sale of the search giant's speakers, smartphones and laptops in the U.S., as Sonos has accused the tech giant of infringing on five of its patents.
MAJOR MOVERS: Among the noteworthy gainers was Apellis (APLS), which rose 28.3% after announcing that pegcetacoplan met the study's primary efficacy endpoint, demonstrating superiority to eculizumab with a statistically significant improvement in adjusted means of 3.8 g/dL of hemoglobin at week 16. Also higher was Himax (HIMX), which gained 11.4% after reporting preliminary Q4 earnings.
Among the notable losers was Clovis Oncology (CLVS), which slid 8.4% after it announced preliminary product revenues for Q4. Also lower was Cerence (CRNC), which fell 6.1% after Goldman Sachs initiated coverage of the stock with a Sell rating.
INDEXES: The Dow fell 119.70, or 0.42%, to 28,583.68, the Nasdaq lost 2.88, or 0.03%, to 9,068.58, and the S&P 500 declined 9.10, or 0.28%, to 3,237.18.