Tech companies, banks lead US indexes lower in midday trade
U.S. stocks edged lower in light trading midday Tuesday as markets reopened following the Christmas holiday. Losses among technology companies and banks outweighed gains by energy companies, airlines and other industrials stocks. Oil prices were headed higher.
KEEPING SCORE: The Standard & Poor’s 500 index fell 3 points, or 0.1 percent, to 2,680 as of 11:55 a.m. Eastern Time. The Dow Jones industrial average slid 18 points, or 0.1 percent, to 24,735. The Nasdaq lost 29 points, or 0.4 percent, to 6,930. 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 $1.96, or 4.4 percent, to $42.16.
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 $4.57 to $170.44.
PHARMA DEAL: Sucampo Pharmaceuticals climbed 5.9 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. Shares in Sucampo added $1 to $18. Mallinckrodt shares picked up 57 cents, or 2.4 percent, to $23.89.
WEIGHING A SALE: KLX surged 10.5 percent after the aerospace products and energy services company said it will consider options including a sale. The stock added $6.63 to $69.63.
BIG GAINERS: Airlines and construction equipment companies rose as part of a rally in industrial stocks. General Electric added 20 cents, or 1.1 percent, to $17.58.
CONSUMER FRIENDLY: Investors bid up shares in big retail stocks, supermarket operators and consumer products companies. Walgreens Boots Alliance rose 51 cents, or 0.7 percent, to $73.22.
OIL: Benchmark U.S. crude was up $1.30, or 2.2 percent, to $59.77 on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, which is used to price international oils, gained $1.58, or 2.4 percent, to $66.31 in London.
The pickup in oil prices helped lift energy stocks. Range Resources gained 60 cents, or 3.6 percent, to $17.06.
BOND YIELDS: Bond prices were rose. The yield on the 10-year Treasury fell to 2.46 percent from 2.48 percent late Friday.
CURRENCIES: The dollar fell to 113.21 yen from 113.31 yen on Friday. The euro strengthened to $1.1866 from $1.1852.
THE BITCOIN TRADE: The price of bitcoin was up about 14.5 percent in morning trading Tuesday to $15,932, according to the tracking site CoinDesk. The currency slumped as much as 30 percent on Friday. Bitcoin futures on the Cboe Futures Exchange were up 14.6 percent to $16,000. 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.
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.