US indexes hold steady as tech stocks rise and banks dip

Posted on Thursday, August 9th, 2018 By Marley Jay, AP Markets Writer


A Chinese investor uses a computer terminal as she monitors stock prices at a brokerage house in Beijing, China, Thursday, Aug. 9, 2018. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)

NEW YORK (AP) — Major U.S. indexes are little changed Thursday as technology stocks rise while energy companies and banks slip. Bond prices rose, sending yields lower, after the Labor Department reported that wholesale prices were little changed in July, a sign inflation pressures weakened slightly.

KEEPING SCORE: The S&P 500 index fell 1 point to 2,856 as of noon Eastern time. The Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped 52 points, or 0.2 percent, to 25,531. The Nasdaq composite gained 15 points, or 0.2 percent, to 7,904. The Russell 2000, an index of smaller companies, added 5 points, or 0.4 percent, to 1,692.

Trading this week has been light, and stocks have edged higher in some of the calmest trading of the year. On Tuesday, the S&P's highest mark and its lowest were just 0.25 percent apart, and Wednesday was similar. The typical gap this year has been 1.1 percent, according to Ryan Detrick at LPL Financial.

PRICES: The Labor Department said wholesale prices were unchanged in July, a sign inflation pressure weakened a bit. Gas and food prices both slipped and soybeans prices tumbled, likely reflecting a buildup in stockpiles after China imposed tariffs on them in retaliation for U.S. duties.

Bond prices jumped. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 2.94 percent from 2.97 percent. That hurt banks, as lower interest rates make long-term loans like mortgages less profitable.

DEALS OFF: Rite Aid called off its sale to the grocery chain Albertsons following opposition from advisory firms and one of Rite Aid's biggest shareholders. The stock fell 10.6 percent to $1.56. Wall Street never showed much confidence the sale would go through.

Walgreens tried to buy Rite Aid last year, but settled for buying about half of its stores after regulators opposed the full sale. The company has been struggling with high debt and tough competition.

Tribune Media withdrew from its planned sale to Sinclair Broadcasting and said it will sue Sinclair for breach of contract. Tribune rose 3.5 percent to $34.83 and Sinclair lost 2.4 percent to $26.45.

Both stocks plunged in mid-July when regulators expressed major concerns about the deal. Tribune has recovered a bit of its losses while Sinclair has continued to decline.

EARNINGS: Online reviews company Yelp jumped 27.8 percent to $48.76 after it raised its revenue forecast and said advertising revenue surged in the second quarter. Video streaming company Roku climbed 22.4 percent to $57.83 after it took a smaller loss than analysts expected while its revenue surpassed expectations.

Travel site Booking Holdings lost 6 percent to $1,922.54 after a weak profit forecast. Generic drugmaker Perrigo cut its forecasts because of weak results from its prescription business. The stock sank 10.3 percent to $70.21.

THURSDAY LEADERS: Apple gave technology companies a hand as it rose 0.9 percent to $209.18, and PayPal gained 1.3 percent to $87.87.

Amazon pulled retail companies higher, rising 0.8 percent to $1,902.01. Amazon and Booking are the two highest-priced stocks on the S&P 500.

DUN TRADING: Business information provider Dun & Bradstreet agreed to be bought by a group of investors for $145 a share, or about $5.4 billion. The stock rallied 15.9 percent to $142.31.

OIL: Crude prices stabilized following a 3 percent drop a day earlier. Benchmark U.S. crude oil remained at $66.94 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, the standard for international oil prices, lost 0.1 percent to $72.22 per barrel in London.

CURRENCIES: The dollar fell to 110.89 yen from 110.96 yen. The euro fell to $1.1569 from $1.1619.

OVERSEAS: The German DAX rose 0.3 percent. Britain's FTSE 100 fell 0.4 percent while France's CAC 40 declined less than 0.1 percent.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng index advanced 0.9 percent and the Japanese Nikkei 225 slipped 0.2 percent. South Korea's Kospi inched up 0.1 percent.

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AP Markets Writer Marley Jay can be reached at http://twitter.com/MarleyJayAP His work can be found at https://apnews.com/search/marley%20jay

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