Gold Hits Record Highs, Nvidia Takes Semiconductor Lead

Wall Street ended lower on Friday, as China retaliated against the closing of their Houston consulate by ordering the U.S. to close its consulate in Chengdu, a diplomatic outpost whose purview includes tracking developments in Tibet.

Ten of 11 stock market sectors finished lower on the day, with only consumer discretionary stocks managing to eke out a gain.

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The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 182 points, or 0.7%, to finish at 26,469.

Nothing to buy? Gold it is! When in doubt, go with gold. That’s been Wall Street’s attitude for the last couple of years now, and the mindset extended into Friday’s trading session, which saw gold prices hit a new all-time high.

The precious metal added about 0.5% on the day to trade around the $1,900 an ounce level. It finally eclipsed the record levels it reached in 2011 when the U.S. was coming out of a financial crisis and hoping to prevent a double-dip recession by imposing record-low interest rates and pumping hundreds of billions into the economy.

Intel craters on chip delay. Shares of blue-chip semiconductor giant Intel Corp. (ticker: INTC) suffered a violent sell-off on Friday, with the stock losing 16.2% and registering one of its worst single-day tumbles in two decades.

The plunge comes after a late-Thursday announcement that the chip-maker would have to delay the rollout of its next-generation, 7-nanometer chips by at least six months. Analysts rushed to downgrade shares, seeing the delay as a serious slip-up that may result in a years-long game of catch-up against rival chip companies.

AMD ( AMD), which already makes a 7-nanometer chip, saw shares rise 16.5% on the news, and Nvidia ( NVDA) overtook Intel in market capitalization, making it the most valuable U.S. semiconductor company with a valuation around $250 billion.

Intel, which lost around $40 billion in value on Friday alone, is now worth about $214 billion.

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