Media and retail losses pull stock indexes away from highs
NEW YORK » U.S. stock indexes retreated from their record highs Thursday as retailers and media companies declined and investors shrugged at quarterly reports from a few big banks.
Clothing companies and other retailers fell after women’s clothing company J. Jill slashed its third-quarter forecast. The company’s stock lost more than half its value.
AT&T had its worst one-day loss since 2008 after it said lost more satellite and cable TV subscribers in the third quarter. Other cable and satellite TV companies also stumbled. Industrial companies and household goods makers finished higher.
JPMorgan Chase and Citigroup both did better than analysts expected in the third quarter, but their stocks fell and so did shares of other banks. They’ve made big gains over the last month.
CFRA Investment Strategist Lindsey Bell said the companies reported good results from their consumer banking businesses, but other divisions didn’t do as well.
“The bar was set kind of high,” she said. “Given the run that these stocks have had into these earnings reports, they’re going to need to see these other businesses pick up steam.”
The Standard & Poor’s 500 index fell 4.31 points, or 0.2 percent, to 2,550.93. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 31.88 points, or 0.1 percent, to 22,841.01. The Nasdaq composite dipped 12.04 points, or 0.2 percent, to 6,591.51. Those three indexes closed at record highs Wednesday. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks slumped 1.76 points, or 0.1 percent, to 1,505.16.
More stocks rose than fell on the New York Stock Exchange.
AT&T said it lost about 90,000 DirecTV video subscribers in the U.S. in the third quarter because of growing competition in streaming video services. That’s a bigger drop than the one it reported a year ago even though it’s launched DirecTV Now, an online service that doesn’t cost as much. The company said tighter credit standards and hurricanes also affected its business. AT&T stock fell $2.33, or 6.1 percent, to $35.86.
Verizon Communications shed 51 cents, or 1 percent, to $48.35 and cable provider Comcast fell $1.47, or 3.8 percent, to $35.95. Dish Network slid $2.62, or 5.1 percent, to $49.03. Cable channel operator Discovery Communications lost 72 cents, or 3.6 percent, to $19.28.
Industrial and transportation companies like railroads did better than the rest of the market. Machinery maker Caterpillar gained $1.39, or 1.1 percent, to $129.99 and railroad operator Norfolk Southern rose $2.20, or 1.7 percent, to $133.69.
Citigroup said its investment banking business did well in the latest quarter, while JPMorgan Chase said its consumer banking business improved compared to a year ago. But Citigroup fell $2.57, or 3.4 percent, to $72.37 and JPMorgan gave up 85 cents to $95.99.
Bell, of CFRA Research, noted that banks have jumped and regional bank stocks have done especially well over the last month, but the third quarter is a tricky one for many banks because stock and bond market trading is fairly quiet.
J. Jill stock nosedived after the retailer of women’s clothes, shoes and accessories slashed its outlook for the third quarter. The company said retail and direct-to-consumer sales both fell short of its expectations and cut its earnings forecast in half. J. Jill stock opened at $13 a share after its March IPO and on Thursday it plunged $5.07, or 51.1 percent, to $4.86.
Retailer Express sank 53 cents, or 8.3 percent, to $5.88 and Chico’s FAS lost 57 cents, or 7.2 percent, to $7.40. Gap lost $1.21, or 4.3 percent, to $27.21.
Southwest Airlines rose and Hawaiian skidded after Southwest said it plans to start flying to Hawaii. It will start selling tickets for those flights in 2018. Southwest stock picked up 26 cents to $58.81 while Hawaiian Holdings lost $1, or 2.5 percent, to $39.
Benchmark U.S. crude oil lost 70 cents, or 1.4 percent, to $50.60 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, fell 69 cents, or 1.2 percent, to $56.25 a barrel in London. That weighed on energy companies.
Wholesale gasoline dipped 3 cents to $1.58 a gallon. Heating oil shed 2 cents to $1.77 a gallon. Natural gas jumped 10 cents, or 3.5 percent, to $2.99 per 1,000 cubic feet.
The screens of specialist Robert Tuccillo are reflected in his glasses as he works at his post on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, Thursday. U.S. stock indexes retreated from their record highs Thursday as retailers and media companies...