By Amy Caren Daniel
(Reuters) - U.S. stocks were little changed on Friday afternoon as a drop in Facebook after it disclosed a security breach pulled Wall Street off the highs following a boost from Intel and energy companies.
Shares of Facebook, trading lower since the opening bell, slumped 3.3 percent after the company said it discovered a security issue affecting about 50 million accounts.
The stock was the biggest drag on the benchmark S&P 500 and led to a 0.55 percent drop in the revamped communication services sector.
Earlier, Intel helped Wall Street shrug off a weak opening after the chipmaker said it could meet its full-year revenue target.
Intel was last up 3.4 percent and was the biggest boost on the three major indexes, while smaller rival AMD tumbled 5.1 percent.
The Philadelphia SE Semiconductor index gained 0.51 percent, also boosted by Nvidia's 4.7 percent jump on bullish comments from Evercore ISI. Technology stocks were up 0.27 percent.
Seven of the 11 major S&P sectors were higher, with energy stocks up 0.63 percent as oil prices gained after U.S. sanctions on Iran squeezed exports, tightening supply.
At 12:51 a.m. EDT the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 8.41 points, or 0.03 percent, at 26,448.34, the S&P 500 was down 0.66 points, or 0.02 percent, at 2,913.34 and the Nasdaq Composite was down 2.54 points, or 0.03 percent, at 8,039.43.
The S&P and the Dow were on track for their best third-quarter performance since 2010.
Helping sentiment was Commerce Department data showing consumer spending rose steadily in August, while inflation stayed at the Federal Reserve's two-percent target.
"The theme of today is a continuation of solid economic numbers, as investors make comfortable positions ahead of the next quarter," said Kate Warne, principal and investment strategist at Edward Jones in Des Peres, Missouri.
Financials slipped 0.60 percent, led by declines in the big U.S. lenders, as Treasury yields fell and the yield curve stayed at its flattest levels in over a week.
Tesla sank 12.0 percent and was on track for its worst day since November 2013 over worries that a lawsuit from U.S. regulators could force Chief Executive Elon Musk to step down and make it difficult for the loss-making electric-car maker to raise more capital.
Advancing issues outnumbered decliners by a 1.71-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and a 1.35-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.
The S&P index recorded 22 new 52-week highs and 15 new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 65 new highs and 64 new lows.
(Reporting by Amy Caren Daniel in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur)
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Updated Date: Sep 29, 2018 00:05 AM