U.S. Stock Indexes Turn Slightly Lower As Early Gains Vanish

FILE - In this Wednesday, Oct. 8, 2014, file photo, American flags fly in front of the New York Stock Exchange. U.S. stock indexes wavered between small gains and losses in early trading Thursday, Feb. 1, 2018, after several big companies reported disappointing quarterly results or outlooks. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)

U.S. stock indexes veered slightly lower in afternoon trading Thursday, shedding modest gains from earlier in the day. Losses in retailers, restaurant chains and other consumer-focused companies outweighed gains in financials and other sectors. Investors were sizing up the latest company earnings and outlooks. Bond prices fell, sending yields higher. Crude oil prices rose.

KEEPING SCORE: The Standard & Poor’s 500 index slipped 4 points, or 0.2 percent, to 2,819 as of 2:27 p.m. Eastern Time. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 17 points, or 0.1 percent, to 26,132. The Nasdaq fell 21 points, or 0.3 percent, to 7,389. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks picked up 3 points, or 0.2 percent, to 1,578.

THE QUOTE: “From an earnings standpoint, the season has been really good and really strong,” said David Lyon, global investment specialist at J.P. Morgan Private Bank. “While the numbers look good, there have been a couple of weak spots, but overall, when we look back, it’s going to be a really strong earnings season.”

REPORTING IN: Investors continued to sift through a raft of corporate earnings reports. About a third of the companies in the S&P 500 have reported results so far this earnings season, and some 65 percent of those have delivered both earnings and revenue that exceeded financial analysts’ expectations, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence.

DELIVERING A DUD: United Parcel Service slumped 7 percent after it said that higher costs affected its business in the fourth quarter. The stock was down $8.94 to $118.38.

OUTBID: PayPal slid 6.7 percent after eBay said it would move to a different payment processor. PayPal shares gave up $5.73 to $79.59.

FUDGED IT: Hershey shares fell 6.3 percent after the company’s latest quarterly results fell short of Wall Street’s expectations. The stock lost $6.98 to $103.35.

CHIPPER RESULTS: Qorvo jumped 16.2 percent after the chipmaker served up solid quarterly results. The stock gained $11.60 to $83.37.

SHAREWORTHY: Facebook climbed 3 percent a day after the social media company posted strong quarter results. The stock added $5.53 to $192.42.

BID ON THIS: Shares in eBay vaulted 14.7 percent after the e-commerce company gave a strong forecast for the current quarter. The stock picked up $5.98 to $46.56.

BOND YIELDS: Bond prices fell. The yield on the 10-year Treasury climbed to 2.76 percent from 2.71 percent late Wednesday. The prospect for stronger economic growth, both in the U.S. and abroad, has helped drive bond yields higher in recent months. This week yields have hovered at the highest level since April 2014. Rising yields make bonds more appealing to investors seeking income, but they can also lead to higher financing costs for companies, homebuyers and other borrowers.

Those higher borrowing costs can help lift profits for banks, credit card issuers and other types of lenders. That gave a boost to financial stocks Thursday. Lincoln National climbed $2.41, or 2.9 percent, to $85.21.

OIL & GAS: Benchmark U.S. crude rose $1.07, or 1.7 percent, to $65.80 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, used to price international oils, gained $1.03, or 1.6 percent, to $69.61 per barrel in London. Natural gas slumped 14 cents, or 4.6 percent, to $2.86 per 1,000 cubic feet. Wholesale gasoline was little changed at $1.90 a gallon and heating oil rose 2 cents to $2.09 a gallon.

The rise in oil prices helped lift some energy sector stocks. Schlumberger added $1.21, or 1.6 percent, to $74.79.

CURRENCIES: The dollar rose to $109.47 yen from 109.11 yen on Wednesday. The euro strengthened to $1.2492 from $1.2410.

METALS: Gold rose $4.80 to $1,347.90 an ounce. Silver dropped 9 cents to $17.16 an ounce. Copper added 1 cent to $3.21 a pound.

MARKETS OVERSEAS: Major stock indexes in Europe declined. Germany’s DAX lost 1.4 percent, while France’s CAC 40 slid 0.5 percent. Britain’s FTSE 100 fell 0.6 percent. Markets in Asia finished mixed. Japan’s Nikkei 225 jumped 1.7 percent and South Korea’s Kospi added 0.1 percent. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index fell 0.8 percent. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 rose 0.9 percent.

By ALEX VEIGA - FEB 1. 2018 - 2:43 PM EDTAP

 
 

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