STOCKS FALL: Here's what you need to know

Stocks lost ground through the trading day after a record-setting session for the Nasdaq on Thursday, but managed to close in positive territory for the week.

First, the scoreboard:

  • Dow: 18,022.62, -93.22, (-0.51%)
  • S&P 500: 2,111.44, -9.80, (-0.46%)
  • Nasdaq: 5,118.42, -14.53, (-0.28%)

And now, the top stories on Friday:

  1. The US oil rig count fell for a 28th straight week. The latest data from driller Baker Hughes showed that the number of oil rigs in operation fell by four to 631, the lowest since August 6, 2010. The combined count of oil and gas rigs fell by two to 857, the lowest level since January 17, 2003. US oil supply is still robust, although the Energy Information Administration forecasts that production is likely to fall through early 2016.
  2. Crude oil prices had slumped ahead of the rig count data, and remained weak through the trading day. West Texas Intermediate crude oil fell more than 2% to as low as $US59.25 per barrel. Brent crude slumped to as low as $US62.35, roughly one year since the international benchmark topped near $US107 a barrel.
  3. Shares of Brazilian steakhouse chain Fogo de Chão surged 30% on its first day of trading. The company had priced its IPO at $US20, and shares climbed as high as $US26.55. That price values the company at about $US719 million. The restaurant features an all-you-can-eat selection of slow-cooked meats. It earned $US262 million in revenues last year, according to a regulatory filing.
  4. Fitbit shares rallied as much as 14% one day after its stellar IPO. On Thursday, the stock opened 52% higher than the IPO price of $US20 a share. It climbed to as high as $US33.95 today, and is now up about 60% from the IPO price.
  5. Shale oil drillers are spending a record amount of their revenues on bond interest payments, according to Bloomberg. The shale boom was funded mostly with debt, not cash or equity. As interest payments to creditors loom, and revenues shrink, a growing number of companies face the possibility of defaults, or even bankruptcy.
  6. This week saw the most outflows on record from government bonds, according to Bank of America Merril Lynch. In a note Friday, strategists wrote that $US2.7 billion was pulled out from the securities. They noted that concerns over Greece’s debt, higher interest rates, and the spike in German bund yields, have driven the flight from fixed income. Meanwhile, $US1.8 billion flowed into European equities — the most in four weeks.
  7. Red Hat surged to a 15-year high. The open-source software provider reported first-quarter earnings after the close on Thursday, beating on the top and bottom lines. It posted earnings per share of $US0.44 (versus $US0.41 expected) and sales of $US481 million (versus $US473 million expected.) The stock rallied to as high as $US81.49; it hasn’t traded near $US80 since the peak of the internet bubble in 2000.

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