Stocks Opened Lower as Oil Weakness Persisted

U.S. stocks opened lower on Friday, as weakness in the oil market continued to dent sentiment. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lately dropped 134.75 points or 0.77%, to 17,361.09. The S&P 500 fell 12.81 points, or 0.63%, to 2,029.08. The Nasdaq Composite was down 18.31 points, or 0.37%, to 4,984.25.

Apple Inc (AAPL.O) said it will launch its payment service in China as soon as 2016, pitting it against entrenched Chinese rivals Alibaba Group Holding (BABA.N) and Tencent Holdings.

BlackBerry Ltd reported a smaller-than-expected fiscal third-quarter loss on Friday and its first quarter-to-quarter revenue gain in over two years, indicating turnaround efforts may be gaining traction. In the quarter ended Nov. 28, the company reported a loss of $89 million, or 17 cents a share. That compared with a year ago loss of $148 million, or 28 cents a share.

Darden Restaurants Inc. reported a better-than-expected fiscal second-quarter profit, raised its earnings outlook, lifted its dividend 14% and set a new $500 million stock buyback program. For the quarter ended Nov. 29, earnings came to $43.2 million, or 33 cents a share, after a loss of $32.8 million, or 26 cents a share, in the same period a year ago.

Home builder Lennar Corp. logged another quarter of double-digit percentage gains in new orders, deliveries and net income, reflecting a sustained recovery in the U.S. new-home market. Lennar reported a profit for the three months ended Nov. 30 of $281.6 million, or $1.21 a share, up from $245.3 million, or $1.07 a share, a year earlier. Revenue grew 14% to $2.95 billion.

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