US stocks edge mostly lower in afternoon trading; oil slides

Posted on Friday, May 18th, 2018 By Alex Veiga, AP Business Writer

U.S. stock indexes edged mostly lower in afternoon trading Friday, adding to the market's modest losses from a day earlier. Banks, energy and consumer goods companies fell, offsetting gains by industrial and health care stocks. Bond prices rose, sending yields lower. Crude oil prices declined.

KEEPING SCORE: The S&P 500 index slipped 4 points, or 0.2 percent, to 2,715 as of 2:25 p.m. ET. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 17 points, or 0.1 percent, to 24,731. The Nasdaq composite fell 19 points, or 0.3 percent, to 7,363. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks picked up 2 points, or 0.1 percent, to 1,627. Rising and falling stocks were evenly split on the New York Stock Exchange.

CHOPPY WEEK: After a strong start to the month, markets have been choppy this week as investors turned the page on the first-quarter earnings reporting season and weighed the implications of rising interest rates and the ongoing trade tensions between the U.S. and China. The countries, which have threatened tariffs on each other, were holding discussions aimed at averting a trade war between the world's two biggest economies.

THE QUOTE: "Markets are taking a little bit of a breather and waiting for something to happen before reacting," said Veronica Willis, investment strategy analyst for Wells Fargo Investment Institute. "They still don't know what to expect, what kind of compromises may be made between the U.S. and China in terms of trade."

SOUP'S OFF: Campbell Soup plunged 12.5 percent to $34.31 after the packaged foods company lowered its profit forecast and said that its CEO, Denise Morrison, was retiring effectively immediately. The stock was the biggest decliner in the S&P 500 and was having its worst single-day drop since 1999.

NOT A GOOD LOOK: Nordstrom tumbled 9.6 percent to $46.03 after the upscale department store chain said sales at established stores, a key metric for retailers, showed meager gains in the first quarter.

FALLING SHORT: Applied Materials gave up 7.4 percent to $49.96 after the maker of chipmaking equipment forecast revenue for the current quarter that was below Wall Street's estimates.

ON THE RISE: Shares in industrials stocks rose. Deere & Co. led all stocks in the S&P 500, climbing 5.9 percent to $155.43 after the agricultural and construction equipment maker forecast 35 percent growth in equipment sales for its third quarter.

PAYING UP: PayPal Holdings added 2.1 percent to $80.89 on news that the company is buying Stockholm-based payment processing startup iZettle for $2.2 billion with the aim of expanding into Europe and Latin America.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude oil fell 28 cents to $71.21 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oil, lost 30 cents to $79 a barrel in London.

The slide in oil prices was a drag on energy stocks. Range Resources slid lost 3.3 percent to $15.16.

BOND YIELDS: Bond prices rose. The yield on the 10-year Treasury fell to 3.07 percent from 3.12 percent late Thursday. The pullback in bond yields, which affect interest rates on mortgages and other consumer loans, weighed on bank stocks. Citigroup fell 2 percent to $70.13.

METALS: Gold gained $1.90 to $1,291.30 an ounce. Silver slipped 3 cents to $16.46 an ounce. Copper dropped 3 cents to $3.06 a pound.

CURRENCIES: The dollar fell to 110.65 yen from 110.75 yen on Thursday. The euro weakened to $1.1786 from $1.1799.

MARKETS OVERSEAS: Major indexes in Europe fell. Germany's DAX gave up 0.3 percent, while France's CAC 40 slid 0.1 percent. Britain's FTSE 100 lost 0.1 percent. Asian stock markets finished mostly higher. Japan's Nikkei 225 added 0.4 percent and South Korea's Kospi index rose 0.5 percent. Hong Kong's Hang Seng index gained 0.3 percent.

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