Mar­kets re­main steady as re­tail rises, health care dips

The Denver Post - - BUSINESS - By Mar­ley Jay

U.S. stocks hardly budged Mon­day as smaller firms and re­tail­ers rose while health care com­pa­nies and banks de­clined. Chem­i­cal and min­ing com­pa­nies rose as the dol­lar weak­ened.

Pre­cious me­tals rose as the dol­lar, al­ready at its low­est lev­els in al­most a year, weak­ened a bit fur­ther. Bond yields slipped, send­ing banks lower and high-div­i­dend stocks like util­i­ties and house­hold goods com­pa­nies higher.

With in­dexes at or near record highs and an­other round of cor­po­rate earn­ings re­ports just be­gin­ning, in­vestors didn’t make many big moves and stocks wob­bled be­tween small gains and losses all day.

In­vestors ex­pect an­other solid round of cor­po­rate earn­ings, and they think the Fed­eral Re­serve will be more cau­tious about rais­ing in­ter­est rates be­cause of some weak eco­nomic data, in­clud­ing Fri­day’s re­port on re­tail sales.

“The fun­da­men­tal pic­ture for in­vestors seems to be sort of strangely per­fect, with im­prov­ing fun­da­men­tals and a cen­tral bank with its foot that was only weakly on the gas com­ing off the gas,” said Katie Nixon, chief in­vest­ment of­fi­cer for Wealth Man­age­ment at North­ern Trust.

The Stan­dard & Poor’s 500 index lost 0.13 points to 2,459.14. The Dow Jones in­dus­trial av­er­age shed 8.02 points to 21,629.72. The Nas­daq com­pos­ite gained 1.97 points to 6,314.43. The Rus­sell 2000 index of smaller-com­pany stocks rose 2.79 points, or 0.2 per­cent, to 1,431.60.

The S&P 500, Dow and Rus­sell 2000 all closed at record highs Fri­day. The Nas­daq has ral­lied al­most 4 per­cent in the last seven days, and it’s re­cov­ered al­most all of the losses it sus­tained when tech­nol­ogy com­pa­nies went into a slump in early June.

The dol­lar has been de­clin­ing as in­vestors have con­cluded the fed­eral govern­ment isn’t close to any kind of in­fra­struc­ture spend­ing pack­age, which would strengthen the U.S. econ­omy. Mean­while economies in Europe are do­ing bet­ter and in­ter­est rates there are ris­ing, which makes Euro­pean cur­ren­cies stronger.

The dol­lar rose to 112.66 yen from 112.56 yen. The euro rose to $1.1480 from $1.1467. The ICE U.S. Dol­lar Index is at its low­est level since early Septem­ber.

In­vest­ment firm Black­Rock dipped af­ter it re­ported weak­erthan-ex­pected re­sults in the sec­ond quar­ter. Its earn­ings and rev­enue fell short of Wall Street fore­casts, and its stock de­clined $13.71, or 3.1 per­cent, to $425.63.

Fi­nan­cial gi­ant Gold­man Sachs, health care prod­ucts maker John­son & John­son and health in­surer Unit­edHealth will re­port their sec­ond-quar­ter re­sults early Tues­day.

Meal kit com­pany Blue Apron tum­bled af­ter The Sun­day Times re­ported that Ama­zon is get­ting ready to launch its own meal-prep busi­ness. The Bri­tish news­pa­per re­ported that Ama­zon reg­is­tered a trade­mark for a food kit busi­ness.

Blue Apron filed to go pub­lic about two weeks be­fore Ama­zon agreed to buy the Whole Foods gro­cery chain. The com­pany went pub­lic June 29 with an IPO that priced at $10 a share, less than the com­pany ini­tially ex­pected, and its stock has fallen fur­ther since then. On Mon­day it dropped 77 cents, or 10.5 per­cent, to $6.59 while Ama­zon added $8.23 to $1,010.04.

Bench­mark U.S. crude lost 52 cents, or 1.1 per­cent, to $46.02 a bar­rel in New York. Brent crude, used to price in­ter­na­tional oils, fell 49 cents, or 1 per­cent, to $48.42 a bar­rel in Lon­don.

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