Oil, en­ergy com­pa­nies hit skids

Auto parts com­pa­nies, au­tomak­ers also slump, but tech stocks re­bound

The Denver Post - - BUSINESS - By Mar­ley Jay The As­so­ci­ated Press

U.S. stock in­dexes were mixed Wed­nes­day as en­ergy com­pa­nies skid­ded along with oil prices, but tech­nol­ogy stocks rose and re­versed a por­tion of their re­cent losses.

Af­ter O’Reilly Au­to­mo­tive re­ported weak sales growth in the sec­ond quar­ter, the three big­gest losers on the Stan­dard & Poor’s 500 in­dex were all auto parts com­pa­nies. Car mak­ers slumped, too.

An eight-day rally in U.S. crude oil prices ended with a thud and en­ergy com­pa­nies took sharp losses. Re­tail­ers and small, do­mes­ti­cally-fo­cused com­pa­nies also strug­gled.

Tech­nol­ogy com­pa­nies bucked the trend and fin­ished higher. Those com­pa­nies have hit a wall in the last month. Banks and in­dus­trial and health care com­pa­nies also rose on an­other quiet day of trad­ing af­ter the In­de­pen­dence Day hol­i­day.

The Fed­eral Re­serve is try­ing to de­cide when it will start let­ting its $4.5 tril­lion bond port­fo­lio shrink. Some Fed of­fi­cials want to an­nounce the start of that process within a few months, ac­cord­ing to min­utes from the cen­tral bank’s June meet­ing, while oth­ers want to wait longer.

“The Fed seems to be a lit­tle bit di­vided over what it’s go­ing to do,” said Doug Burt­nick, deputy head of North Amer­i­can equities for Aberdeen As­set Man­age­ment. He said that di­vi­sion makes in­vestors put more em­pha­sis on eco­nomic re­ports and other data.

“You’re go­ing to see a lot of pieces as early as next week be­cause that’s when you’re go­ing to start see­ing a lot of earn­ings re­ports from banks,” Burt­nick added, and Wall Street will get a clearer view of how much money banks are lend­ing.

The Stan­dard & Poor’s 500 in­dex added 4.55 points, or 0.2 per­cent, to 2,432.54. The Dow Jones in­dus­trial av­er­age slid 1.10 points to 21,478.17. Nas­daq com­pos­ite rose 40.80 points, or 0.7 per­cent, to 6,150.86. The Rus­sell 2000 in­dex of smaller-com­pany stocks sank 6.54 points, or 0.5 per­cent, to 1,420.15.

Bench­mark U.S. crude dropped $1.94, or 4.1 per­cent, to $45.13 a bar­rel in New York. Brent crude, used to price in­ter­na­tional oils, sank $1.82, or 3.7 per­cent, to $47.79 a bar­rel in Lon­don. U.S. crude reached an an­nual low in late June, and then jumped 11 per­cent over the next eight trad­ing days.

Hess fell $2.06, or 4.5 per­cent, to $43.36 and Exxon Mo­bil shed $1.25, or 1.5 per­cent, to $80.85.

O’Reilly Au­to­mo­tive said sales were slug­gish at its older lo­ca­tions over the last three months be­cause of weak de­mand and the ef­fects of a mild win­ter. Its stock lost $41.64, or 18.9 per­cent, to $178.77.

Ad­vance Auto Parts gave up $13.20, or 11.1 per­cent, to $105.21 and Au­toZone slid $54.88, or 9.6 per­cent, to $516.83. Those three com­pa­nies have each plunged more than 30 per­cent this year as in­vestors worry about the ef­fects of slow­ing car sales.

Tesla took its big­gest loss in a year af­ter as in­vestors were dis­ap­pointed with the com­pany’s sec­ond-quar­ter pro­duc­tion and de­liv­ery to­tals. The elec­tric car maker’s stock dropped $25.53, or 7.2 per­cent, to $327.09.

Else­where Ford de­clined 26 cents, or 2.2 per­cent, to $11.30 while Gen­eral Mo­tors sagged 56 cents, or 1.6 per­cent, to $35.01. Au­tomak­ers had ral­lied Mon­day af­ter they re­ported their monthly sales.

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