Stocks mixed; tech firms on roll

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - BUSINESS & FARM - MAR­KET RE­PORT STAN CHOE

NEW YORK — Stocks mostly fell Mon­day and broad­mar­ket in­dexes inched mod­estly back­ward at the start of a busy week of cor­po­rate earn­ings re­ports and a meet­ing of the Fed­eral Re­serve. Tech­nol­ogy stocks, though, added to their big gains for the year and helped push the Nas­daq com­pos­ite to an­other record.

The Stan­dard & Poor’s 500 in­dex fell 2.63 points, or 0.1 per­cent, to 2,469.91 af­ter nine of the 11 sec­tors that make up the in­dex logged losses. It marks the first three-day los­ing streak for the in­dex in a month, though it’s still close to its record.

The Dow Jones in­dus­trial av­er­age fell 66.90 points, or 0.3 per­cent, to 21,513.17. The Nas­daq com­pos­ite rose 23.05 points, or 0.4 per­cent, to 6,410.81.

The Nas­daq is up 19.1 per­cent this year, nearly dou­ble the rise for broader-mar­ket in­dexes as in­vestors have jumped into tech­nol­ogy stocks in their search for strong growth as the global econ­omy re­mains slug­gish.

Ama­zon and sev­eral other big-name tech com­pa­nies are set to re­lease their sec­ondquar­ter re­sults in com­ing days, part of a busy week in which more than a third of S&P 500 com­pa­nies are sched­uled to re­port.

Ex­pec­ta­tions are high. An­a­lysts fore­cast that tech stocks in the S&P 500 will re­port 16 per­cent growth in earn­ings per share, ac­cord­ing to S&P Global Mar­ket In­tel­li­gence. That’s up from a fore­cast a month ago of 10.9 per­cent growth. An­a­lysts say the com­pa­nies will need to fol­low through on the ex­pec­ta­tions to jus­tify the big moves their stock prices have al­ready made.

“The group did have a strong start to the year, and there are some ques­tions about how long tech can con­tinue to rally,” said Ann Miletti, se­nior port­fo­lio man­ager at Wells Fargo As­set Man­age­ment. “Over­all, what we’re be­liev­ing to be true is that sec­ond-quar­ter re­sults are go­ing to come in, in gen­eral, bet­ter than ex­pected. But the sec­ond-half out­look is the most im­por­tant thing, and we’ll see.”

The In­ter­na­tional Mone­tary Fund on Mon­day held its 2017 fore­cast for global eco­nomic growth steady at 3.5 per­cent, but that masks some movements un­der­neath. It raised its fore­cast for eco­nomic growth in Europe, Ja­pan and China, but it also cut its out­look for the United States on the as­sump­tion that politi­cians in Washington won’t be as help­ful for growth as ear­lier ex­pected.

The Fed’s pol­i­cy­mak­ing com­mit­tee be­gins a two-day meet­ing to­day. The Fed de­cided last month to raise short­term in­ter­est rates for the third time since De­cem­ber. The cen­tral bank also an­nounced plans to start grad­u­ally par­ing its bond hold­ings later this year, a move that could cause rates to rise. Most in­vestors ex­pect the Fed to hold rates steady at this week’s meet­ing and pos­si­bly raise them one more time this year.

Shares of We­bMD Health soared $10.91, or 19.8 per­cent, to $66.10 af­ter a port­fo­lio com­pany of in­vest­ment firm KKR said it will buy the health in­for­ma­tion web­site for $66.50 per share in cash.

Nat­u­ral gas fell 7 cents to $2.90 per 1,000 cu­bic feet. Whole­sale gaso­line slipped a penny to $1.56 a gal­lon, and heat­ing oil was nearly flat at $1.52 a gal­lon.

Gold fell 60 cents to set­tle at $1,254.30 per ounce, sil­ver slipped 1 cent to $16.44 per ounce, and cop­per added a penny to $2.74 per pound.

The yield on the 10-year Trea­sury note ticked up to 2.25 per­cent from 2.24 per­cent late Fri­day, and the two-year yield rose to 1.36 per­cent from 1.34 per­cent.

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