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Tech companies, banks lead indexes lower in afternoon trade

by December 26, 2017 General

U.S. stocks edged lower in light trading Tuesday afternoon as markets reopened following the Christmas holiday. Technology stocks accounted for most of the losses. Apple slid on speculation that the company would cut its targets for iPhone sales. Banks also declined, outweighing gains by energy companies and retailers. Oil prices closed higher.

KEEPING SCORE: The Standard & Poor’s 500 index fell 3 points, or 0.1 percent, to 2,680 as of 3:08 p.m. Eastern Time. The Dow Jones industrial average slid 16 points, or 0.1 percent, to 24,737. The Nasdaq lost 24 points, or 0.4 percent, to 6,935. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks picked up 2 points, or 0.2 percent, to 1,545.

Stocks finished higher Friday for a fifth straight week and are on pace to finish every month of the year with gains, when dividends are included.

THE QUOTE: “It’s a low-volume day after Christmas, with hardly anything going on,” said Tom Martin, senior portfolio manager with Globalt Investments. “You have one piece of news that is significant on a major company, Apple. That moved some of the components around.”


SOUR APPLE: Apple slid 2.6 percent after a Taiwanese newspaper reported that the company may cut iPhone X sales targets amid weak sales. The stock declined $4.56 to $170.45.

TECH SLUMP: A slide in technology companies weighed on the market. Micron Technology lost $1.88, or 4.3 percent, to $42.24.

PHARMA DEAL: Sucampo Pharmaceuticals climbed 5.7 percent after it agreed to be acquired by drugmaker Mallinckrodt for $839 million, or $18 a share. Sucampo makes a constipation drug called Amitiza and it had $230 million in total revenue last year. Sucampo added 98 cents to $17.98. Mallinckrodt picked up 23 cents, or 1 percent, to $23.55.

WEIGHING A SALE: KLX surged 10.1 percent after the aerospace products and energy services company said it will consider options including a sale. The stock added $6.37 to $69.37.

BIG GAINERS: Investors bid up shares in big retail stocks and consumer products companies. Kohl’s jumped $3.33, or 6.2 percent, to $56.99, while Macy’s added $1.23, or 4.8 percent, to $26.90.

OIL: Crude oil prices rose. Benchmark U.S. crude gained $1.50, or 2.6 percent, to settle at $59.97 on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, which is used to price international oils, rose $1.77, or 2.7 percent, to close at $67.02 in London.

The pickup in oil prices helped lift energy stocks. Range Resources gained 52 cents, or 3.2 percent, to $16.99.

METALS: Gold rose $8.70, or 0.7 percent, to $1,287.50 an ounce. Silver added 16 cents to $16.60 an ounce. Copper picked up 4 cents to $3.28 a pound.

BOND YIELDS: Bond prices rose. The yield on the 10-year Treasury fell to 2.46 percent from 2.48 percent late Friday.

CURRENCIES: The dollar fell to 113.18 yen from 113.31 yen on Friday. The euro strengthened to $1.1863 from $1.1852.

THE BITCOIN TRADE: The price of bitcoin was up 14.5 percent to $15,931, according to the tracking site CoinDesk. The price of the digital currency slumped as much as 30 percent on Friday. Bitcoin futures on the Cboe Futures Exchange were up 13.2 percent to $15,800. The futures allow investors to make bets on the future price of bitcoin. The price of the digital currency has soared this year, having begun 2017 under $1,000. Many economists and market watchers believe bitcoin is in a speculative bubble that could burst any time.

MARKETS OVERSEAS: Markets in Germany, Britain and France were closed for a holiday. Markets in Hong Kong and Australia were also closed for a holiday. Elsewhere in Asia, markets were mixed in light trading. Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 shed 0.2 percent, while Seoul’s Kospi fell 0.5 percent and India’s Sensex gained 0.2 percent. Shares in Taiwan and Singapore declined while Bangkok rose.