Stocks mostly higher as bank, me­dia gains off­set tech losses

Austin American-Statesman - - BUSINESS - By Mar­ley Jay

U.S. stocks fin­ished mostly higher Mon­day as banks, me­dia and en­ergy com­pa­nies climbed just enough to can­cel out losses for tech­nol­ogy com­pa­nies in­clud­ing Face­book and Ama­zon.

Ca­ble provider Char­ter Com­mu­ni­ca­tions surged on a re­port it might be bought by a Ja­panese tech­nol­ogy com­pany. Mean­while, ca­ble net­works Scripps Net­works and Dis­cov­ery Com­mu­ni­ca­tions agreed to com­bine in a deal worth al­most $12 bil­lion.

Tech­nol­ogy com­pa­nies missed out. Face­book re­turned some of its gains from last week, when it posted strong sec­ond-quar­ter re­sults, and re­ports of higher ex­penses con­tin­ued to af­fect Ama­zon’s shares. Banks rose, with HSBC climb­ing af­ter it dis­closed its own earn­ings.

About half of the com­pa­nies in the Stan­dard & Poor’s 500 have re­ported their sec­ond-quar­ter re­sults, and this week, Ap­ple and other com­pa­nies will join the fray. Steve Wood, chief mar­ket strategist for Rus­sell In­vest­ments, said he ex­pects strong earn­ings for U.S. com­pa­nies.

The Stan­dard & Poor’s 500 in­dex fell 1.80 points, or 0.1 percent, to 2,470.30. The Dow Jones in­dus­trial av­er­age con­tin­ued to build on its record highs. It gained 60.81 points, or 0.3 percent, to 21,891.12. The Nasdaq com­pos­ite lost 26.55 points, or 0.4 percent, to 6,348.12. The Rus­sell 2000 in­dex of smaller-com­pany stocks dipped 4.12 points, or 0.3 percent, to 1,425.14. A ma­jor­ity of the stocks on the New York Stock Ex­change rose.

Char­ter Com­mu­ni­ca­tions climbed af­ter Bloomberg re­ported that Ja­panese con­glom­er­ate SoftBank is con­sid­er­ing buy­ing it. The re­port Sun­day said that SoftBank ini­tially wanted to com­bine Char­ter with Sprint, but af­ter Char­ter re­jected that idea, the tech­nol­ogy com­pany may buy Char­ter out­right. Shares of the ca­ble provider jumped $21.65, or 5.8 percent, to $391.91, and in­vestors value Char­ter at about $101 bil­lion.

Dis­cov­ery Com­mu­ni­ca­tions will buy Scripps Net­works In­ter­ac­tive for $90 per share. Scripps picked up 50 cents to $87.41. It’s up 30 percent in two weeks on re­ports the com­pa­nies would com­bine. Dis­cov­ery took the largest loss on the S&P 500 in­dex as it fell $2.20, or 8.2 percent, to $24.60.

Else­where, Com­cast added 93 cents, or 2.4 percent, to $40.45.

HSBC said higher in­ter­est rates helped it make more money from its lend­ing busi­ness, and it plans to buy back another $2 bil­lion in stock. Its shares climbed $1.19, or 2.4 percent, to $50.09 and Cap­i­tal One Fi­nan­cial picked up $1.21, or 1.4 percent, to $86.18.

Among tech­nol­ogy com­pa­nies, Face­book lost $3.20, or 1.9 percent, to $169.25. Al­pha­bet, Google’s par­ent com­pany, shed $12.83, or 1.3 percent, to $945.50.

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