Tech companies, banks lead indexes lower in afternoon trade
U.S. stocks edged lower in light trading Tuesday afternoon as markets reopened following the Christmas holiday. Losses among technology companies and banks outweighed gains by energy companies and retailers. Oil prices headed higher.
KEEPING SCORE: The Standard & Poor’s 500 index fell 3 points, or 0.1 percent, to 2,680 as of 1:20 p.m. Eastern Time. The Dow Jones industrial average slid 32 points, or 0.1 percent, to 24,721. The Nasdaq lost 21 points, or 0.3 percent, to 6,938. 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.
TECH SLUMP: A slide in technology companies weighed on the market. Micron Technology lost $2.04, or 4.6 percent, to $42.08.
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 $4.61 to $170.40.
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 55 cents, or 2.4 percent, to $23.87.
WEIGHING A SALE: KLX surged 9.7 percent after the aerospace products and energy services company said it will consider options including a sale. The stock added $6.11 to $69.11.
BIG GAINERS: Investors bid up shares in big retail stocks and consumer products companies. Kohl’s jumped $3.26, or 6.1 percent, to $56.92, while Macy’s added$1.32, or 5.1 percent, to $26.99.
OIL: Benchmark U.S. crude was up $1.33, or 2.3 percent, to $59.80 on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, which is used to price international oils, gained $1.55, or 2.4 percent, to $66.28 in London.
The pickup in oil prices helped lift energy stocks. Range Resources gained 63 cents, or 3.8 percent, to $17.09.
BOND YIELDS: Bond prices were rose. The yield on the 10-year Treasury fell to 2.47 percent from 2.48 percent late Friday.
CURRENCIES: The dollar fell to 113.17 yen from 113.31 yen on Friday. The euro strengthened to $1.1870 from $1.1852.
THE BITCOIN TRADE: The price of bitcoin was up 13 percent to $15,696, 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 12 percent to $15,710. 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 warn that 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.