Stocks slip; small firms take the brunt
Losses for energy and technology companies left most U.S. stocks lower Thursday. Smaller companies fared worse as the dollar remained at 15-month lows. The Dow Jones industrial average eked out its eighth consecutive gain.
Energy firms’ stocks weakened as the price of oil turned lower, and tech firms declined as Apple gave up a piece of its big gain from the day before. Investors bought government bonds after some shaky economic news in the U.S. and Britain. That sent bond yields down, which hurt financial firms. Industrial firms such as 3M did well, and so did large drugmakers such as Pfizer.
Small companies, which surged in November and December, have slumped this week. Firearms maker Sturm Ruger tumbled Thursday after it said quarterly sales fell. Sporting goods companies such as Big 5 and Vista Outdoor also sank. Smaller banks fared worse than larger ones.
Julian Emanuel, an equity strategist for UBS, said that as the dollar keeps losing strength, investors are selling smaller and more domestically focused firms and buying more international businesses, as the weaker dollar will help their profits and sales outside the U.S.
Symantec slid 2.1%, to $30.27 after the maker of security software announced disappointing quarterly sales and issued forecasts that weren’t as good as hoped. It also agreed to sell its website security business to DigiCert for $950 million in cash and a 30% stake in DigiCert.
3-D printer maker 3D Systems dived 21.3% to $13.39 after its quarterly results fell short of estimates and it cut its full-year projections.
Fitbit leaped 15.2% to $5.84 after the maker of fitness trackers posted a smaller loss than expected.
The Institute for Supply Management said production, orders and hiring by U.S. services companies all declined in July. Its services index fell to its lowest reading in 11 months, which suggests the economy is growing at a steady but modest pace. Meanwhile, the Bank of England reduced its economic growth forecasts.
The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 2.22% from 2.27%. That sent interest rates lower.
Tesla jumped 6.5% to $347.09 after the maker of electric cars said it’s confident it can meet its production goals for its Model 3 sedan. It also posted a smaller loss than expected.
Avon Products lost money last quarter and said sales weren’t as good as expected. The cosmetics retailer said Thursday that its CEO will leave the company. The stock sank 10.7% to $3.
Benchmark U.S. crude fell 56 cents, or 1.1%, to $49.03 a barrel. Brent crude fell 35 cents to $52.01 a barrel. Wholesale gasoline fell 1 cent to $1.63 a gallon. Heating oil fell 2 cents to $1.64 a gallon. Natural gas slipped 1 cent to $2.80 per 1,000 cubic feet.
Gold fell $4 to $1,274.40 an ounce. Silver fell 10 cents to $16.63 an ounce. Copper fell less than 1 cent to $2.88 a pound.
The dollar fell to 110.06 yen from 110.61 yen. The euro rose to $1.1866 from $1.1860.