Austin American-Statesman - - MONEY & MARKETS -

Jones in­dus­trial av­er­age lost 69.03 points, or 0.3 per­cent, to 20,855.73. The Nas­daq composite rose 3.62 points, or 0.1 per­cent, to 5,836.55 as health care and tech­nol­ogy com­pa­nies moved higher.

Pri­vate busi­nesses added 298,000 jobs last month, ac­cord­ing to pay­roll pro­ces­sor ADP. That came af­ter a slightly smaller gain in Jan­uary. The U.S. govern­ment will is­sue its own re­port on the broader jobs mar­ket Fri­day.

Bond prices dropped. The yield on the 10-year Trea­sury note jumped to 2.56 per­cent from 2.52 per­cent.

Fed­eral Re­serve pol­i­cy­mak­ers will meet next week, and in­vestors ex­pect the cen­tral bank to raise in­ter­est rates for the first time since De­cem­ber. Nixon says longterm bond yields could reach roughly 3 per­cent in a few months.

Stocks that pay big div­i­dends such as util­i­ties and real es­tate in­vest­ment trusts are of­ten com­pared to bonds be­cause of their hefty pay­ments to share­hold­ers. When bond yields rise, in­vestors of­ten sell those stocks so they can buy bonds in­stead. High-div­i­dend com­pa­nies also fall out of fa­vor when Wall Street ex­pects faster eco­nomic growth. Util­ity hold­ing com­pany PG&E gave up $1.10, or 1.7 per­cent, to $65.16 and Realty In­come dropped $2.14, or 3.6 per­cent, to $57.70.

The En­ergy In­for­ma­tion Ad­min­is­tra­tion said oil re­serves grew by 8 mil­lion bar­rels last week, far more than an­a­lysts ex­pected. Bench­mark U.S. crude sagged $2.86, or 5.4 per­cent, to $50.28 a bar­rel in New York, its low­est price since late Novem­ber. Brent crude, used to price in­ter­na­tional oils, fell $2.81, or 5 per­cent, to $53.11 a bar­rel in Lon­don.

En­ergy stocks are al­ready lag­ging the mar­ket in 2017, and on Wed­nes­day the 13 big­gest losers among S&P 500 com­pa­nies all came from the en­ergy in­dus­try. Marathon Oil lost $1.41, or 8.7 per­cent, to $14.87 and Devon En­ergy sank $2.84, or 6.5 per­cent, to $40.72.

Al­most three-fourths of the stocks on the New York Stock Ex­change fin­ished lower as some sec­tors that might have been ex­pected to rise on the prospect of faster eco­nomic growth missed out on the day’s gains.

Banks, which have sky­rock­eted since the elec­tion, fin­ished lit­tle changed de­spite the jump in bond yields. In­dus­trial com­pa­nies de­clined. Cater­pil­lar lost $2.70, or 2.8 per­cent, to $93.23 as a govern­ment probe into its taxes and ac­count­ing re­mained in the news. Smaller, do­mes­ti­cally fo­cused com­pa­nies also fell, as the Russell 2000 in­dex of small-com­pany stocks fell 8.84 points, or 0.6 per­cent, to 1,366.04.

Med­i­cal de­vice and equip­ment mak­ers moved slightly higher, and biotech­nol­ogy com­pa­nies bounced part­way back af­ter sharp losses a day ear­lier. In­vestors wor­ried about price lim­its or cuts af­ter Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump tweeted that he is work­ing on a plan to re­duce prices. The Nas­daq Biotech­nol­ogy in­dex rose 0.9 per­cent af­ter a 1.5 per­cent loss Tues­day.

In other en­ergy trad­ing, whole­sale gaso­line shed 3 cents to $1.65 a gal­lon. Heat­ing oil dropped 6 cents, or 3.5 per­cent, to $1.56 a gal­lon. Nat­u­ral gas jumped 8 cents, or 2.7 per­cent, to $2.90 per 1,000 cu­bic feet.

Gold fell $6.70 to $1,209.40 an ounce. Sil­ver lost 24 cents, or 1.4 per­cent, to $17.30 an ounce.


En­ergy stocks are al­ready lag­ging the mar­ket in 2017, and on Wed­nes­day the 13 big­gest losers among S&P 500 com­pa­nies all came from the en­ergy in­dus­try.

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