Con­sumer goods firms lift stocks

Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - BUSINESS & FARM - ALEX VEIGA

The ma­jor U.S. stock in­dexes capped a day of mostly sub­dued trad­ing with slight gains Mon­day.

Con­sumer and house­hold goods com­pa­nies led the mar­ket higher, off­set­ting losses by in­dus­trial and en­ergy stocks.

A batch of cor­po­rate deal news also helped put in­vestors in a buy­ing mood. Mat­tel soared nearly 21 per­cent on a re­port that Has­bro of­fered to buy the ri­val toy­maker.

Gen­eral Elec­tric slumped about 7 per­cent af­ter cut­ting its div­i­dend and re­leas­ing a weak fore­cast for next year.

The Stan­dard & Poor’s 500 in­dex rose 2.54 points, or 0.1 per­cent, to 2,584.84. The Dow Jones in­dus­trial av­er­age gained 17.49 points, or 0.1 per­cent, to 23,439.70. The Nas­daq com­pos­ite added 6.66 points, or 0.1 per­cent, to 6,757.60.

The Rus­sell 2000 in­dex of smaller-com­pany stocks dipped 0.21 points, or 0.01 per­cent, to 1,475.07. More stocks fell than rose on the New York Stock Ex­change.

Bond prices were lit­tle changed. The yield on the 10-year Trea­sury note held at 2.40 per­cent.

The gains in con­sumer stocks and util­i­ties, which also rose, sug­gest that in­vestors were look­ing for yield, said Lind­sey Bell, in­vest­ment strate­gist at CFRA Re­search.

“They’re maybe show­ing a lit­tle bit of skep­ti­cism in the bull mar­ket that’s more than 8 years old,” she said. “Maybe they’re feel­ing a lit­tle bit squea­mish af­ter last week.”

The stock mar­ket snapped an eight-week string of gains last week.

The ma­jor stock in­dexes opened lower Mon­day and then wa­vered be­tween small gains and losses. By mid­morn­ing they had inched back up into pos­i­tive ter­ri­tory, hov­er­ing just above their Fri­day clos­ing lev­els for the rest of the day.

Con­sumer and house­hold goods com­pa­nies were among the big gain­ers Mon­day. J.M. Smucker rose $2.37, or 2.3 per­cent, to $106.49.

While trad­ing was mostly sub­dued, in­vestors bid up shares in com­pa­nies at the cen­ter of merger-re­lated news.

Toy­maker Mat­tel soared 20.7 per­cent af­ter a re­port that ri­val Has­bro made an of­fer to buy the com­pany. Mat­tel was the big­gest gainer in the S&P 500, climb­ing $3.02 to $17.64. Has­bro added $5.39, or 5.9 per­cent, to $96.84.

Mall owner GGP’s stock jumped 8.3 per­cent af­ter Brook­field Prop­erty Part­ners of­fered to buy the rest of the com­pany for $14 bil­lion, or $23 a share. Shares in GGP rose $1.85 to $24.05.

Traders also sent shares in Qual­comm 3 per­cent higher af­ter the com­pany re­jected an un­so­licited takeover of­fer from Broad­com worth $103 bil­lion, or $70 a share. Qual­comm said the pro­posal was sig­nif­i­cantly un­der­val­ued and that a tie-up be­tween the ti­tan chip­mak­ers would face sub­stan­tial reg­u­la­tory re­sis­tance. Shares in Qual­comm added $1.92 to $66.49. Broad­com rose 5 cents to $265.01.

Some cor­po­rate deals failed to put in­vestors in a buy­ing mood.

Wis­domTree In­vest­ments fell 5.5 per­cent af­ter the as­set man­age­ment com­pany said it will pay $611 mil­lion to buy a European di­vi­sion of ETF Se­cu­ri­ties. Shares in Wis­domTree shed 66 cents to $11.28.

Gen­eral Elec­tric tum­bled 7.2 per­cent af­ter the com­pany said it would slash its div­i­dend in half to 12 cents per share, start­ing next month. The com­pany also re­leased an­nual profit pro­jec­tions that were well be­low what Wall Street had been ex­pect­ing.

En­ergy fu­tures closed mostly lower.

Bench­mark U.S. crude rose 2 cents to set­tle at $56.76 per bar­rel on the New York Mer­can­tile Ex­change. Brent crude, used to price international oils, slipped 36 cents to close at $63.16 a bar­rel in Lon­don.

In other en­ergy trad­ing, whole­sale gaso­line gave up 2 cents to $1.79 a gal­lon. Heat­ing oil was lit­tle changed at $1.93 a gal­lon. Nat­u­ral gas fell 5 cents to $3.17 per 1,000 cu­bic feet.

Stocks in the S&P 500’s en­ergy sec­tor de­clined the most. New­field Ex­plo­ration slid $1.22, or 3.7 per­cent, to $32.09.

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