Stocks Fall As Crude Oil Prices Drop 4 Percent; Banks Climb

FILE- In this May 17, 2018, file photo, an American flag hangs above the bell podium on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. The U.S. stock market opens at 9:30 a.m. EDT on Monday, July 16. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)

NEW YORK — U.S. stocks are mostly slipping Monday as energy companies sink along with the price of oil. Banks are rising along with interest rates, and Bank of America is climbing after a solid second-quarter report. Stocks finished at five-month highs last week as investors remained optimistic about the U.S. economy even as they worried about the trade war between the U.S. and China.

KEEPING SCORE: The S&P 500 index lost 6 points, or 0.2 percent, to 2,794 as of 3 p.m. Eastern time. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was unchanged at 25,018 as Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, and Boeing made gains. The Nasdaq composite fell 28 points, or 0.4 percent, to 7,797.

The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks declined 12 points, or 0.8 percent, to 1,674, and two-thirds of the stocks on the New York Stock Exchange were trading lower.

ENERGY: Crude oil prices sank on reports the U.S. will take a softer stance on countries that import oil from Iran after sanctions on Iran’s energy sector go back into effect.

Reuters reported that Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the U.S. will consider giving waivers to countries that can’t immediately stop buying Iranian oil by early November. Last month the U.S. began pressuring countries to stop buying Iranian oil entirely.

Benchmark U.S. crude fell 4.2 percent to $68.06 in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, fell 4.6 percent to $71.84 a barrel in London.

BANK ON IT: Bank of America’s second-quarter profits jumped 33 percent and surpassed Wall Street estimates. Like other big banks, it got a big boost from the corporate tax cut that passed at the end of 2017 and from higher interest rates. Its stock rose 3.6 percent to $29.58.

Troubled German lender Deutsche Bank jumped 7.9 percent to $12.13 after it said its earnings will be considerably higher than expected. Deutsche Bank has taken three years of losses based on high costs and big fines and penalties linked to past misconduct.

Banks were also helped by an increase in interest rates after the Commerce Department said sales at retailers and restaurants kept rising in June. That’s a sign shoppers are still willing to spend even though wages are only growing slightly, and it’s a hint the Federal Reserve will likely continue to raise interest rates.

Bond prices fell. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 2.86 percent from 2.83 percent. High-dividend companies like real estate investment trusts fell as investors who wanted income bought bonds instead.

SINK-CLAIR: Tribune Media and Sinclair Broadcast Group both slumped after the Federal Communications Commission said it has concerns about Sinclair’s plan to buy Tribune. Right-leaning TV station operator Sinclair is the largest operator of local TV stations in the U.S., and it has proposed selling some of its own TV stations as part of the $3.9 billion deal. FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said Sinclair would continue to control them in practice, which would violate the law.

Tribune Media plunged 16.9 percent to $32.06 and Sinclair skidded 10.7 percent to $29.43.

ALUMINUM SHINING: Arconic, a company that makes aluminum parts for companies in the aerospace and automobile industries, soared after the Wall Street Journal reported that private equity firms are interested in buying it. The stock climbed 10.2 percent to $19.16, which gave Arconic a market value of about $9.3 billion.

When Arconic split from former parent Alcoa in late 2016, investors saw it as a faster-growing business whose stock would probably perform better than Alcoa’s. But Alcoa’s stock has slowly risen after years of struggles, while Arconic has fallen more than 40 percent since mid-January.

AMAZON, AGAIN: Online retail giant Amazon, already trading at record highs, rose 1.1 percent to $1,833.25 at the start of its Prime Day promotion. The company said the deals will last for 36 hours this year, and Amazon is trying to get more shoppers to Whole Foods, the grocery chain it bought last year. Amazon is up 57 percent in 2018 and is responsible for about 19 percent of the total return of the S&P 500 over that time, according to S&P Dow Jones Indices.

DATA DUMPED: Alliance Data Systems, which manages loyalty and rewards programs for retailers, fell 10 percent to $219.08 after it said late and delinquent payments increased in the second quarter.

COMMODITIES: Gold fell 0.1 percent to $1,239.70 an ounce. Silver was unchanged at $15.81 an ounce. Copper lost 0.4 percent to $2.76 a pound.

Wholesale gasoline skidded 5 percent to $2 a gallon. Heating oil dropped 3.7 percent to $2.05 a gallon. Natural gas added 0.3 percent to $2.76 per 1,000 cubic feet.

CURRENCY: The dollar dipped to 112.27 yen from 112.30 yen. The euro climbed to $1.1717 from $1.1677.

OVERSEAS: Germany’s DAX rose 0.2 percent while the CAC 40 in France dipped 0.4 percent. The FTSE 100 index in Britain dropped 0.8 percent. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng edged 0.1 percent higher and the Kospi in South Korea fell 0.4 percent.

By MARLEY JAY - JULY 16. 2018 - 3:08 PM EDT

AP Markets Writer Marley Jay can be reached at His work can be found at


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