FILE- In this April 5, 2018, file photo a sign for a Wall Street subway station is shown. The U.S. stock market opens at 9:30 a.m. EDT on Tuesday, Aug. 28. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)

US indexes struggle higher, led by technology companies

August 28, 2018 - 2:56 pm

NEW YORK (AP) — Major U.S. stock indexes shook off a midday stumble and managed tiny gains in afternoon trading Tuesday, led by technology companies and a handful of retailers.

The indexes remained near record highs after rallying over the previous two days. Trading volume was lighter than usual.

Discount shoe store operator DSW soared 19 percent after reporting a strong quarter, but energy companies and banks slipped.

Bond prices fell, sending yields higher. That dented high-dividend stocks like utilities and phone companies, which investors tend to buy when they are seeking income.

KEEPING SCORE: The S&P 500 index rose 2 points, or 0.1 percent, to 2,898 as of 2:30 p.m. Eastern time. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 38 points, or 0.2 percent, to 26,088. The Nasdaq composite gained 16 points, or 0.2 percent, to 8,033.

The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks dipped less than 1 point to 1,727, and most of the companies on the New York Stock Exchange traded lower.

Canada's foreign minister is traveling to Washington Tuesday to restart talks on trade, a day after stocks rose on news that the Trump administration had reached a preliminary deal with Mexico to replace the North American Free Trade Agreement.

THE QUOTE: "If we do get a new agreement in North America with lower overall tariffs or trade restrictions, long-term that's a pretty positive result," said Jim Paulsen, chief investment strategist for the Leuthold Group.

While some experts think stocks could rally if the U.S. and its partners make progress on new trade deals, Paulsen said there might not be a big market reaction because it's not clear how much trade tensions have harmed stocks this spring and summer.

RETAIL RESULTS: Shoe retailer DSW surged 20.5 percent to $32.7 after reporting second-quarter results that were far stronger than analysts expected. Sales surpassed Wall Street forecasts, and the company raised its estimates for the rest of the year.

DSW stock has climbed 53 percent in 2018. Like many other retailers, DSW had slumped in recent years due to growing competition from online retailers and sinking sales in stores. Retail stocks have climbed recently as they improved their online businesses, but when they fall short of expectations the stocks have taken precipitous drops.

That happened to Macy's, Gap and J.C. Penney in the second quarter. And on Tuesday Best Buy fell 4.8 percent to $77.71 after issuing a disappointing forecast for the current quarter.

TECH ON TOP: Apple added 1 percent to $220.20 as technology companies, the most valuable part of the S&P 500, did better than the rest of the market. Chipmaker Xilinx rose 2.1 percent to $76.85 and Qualcomm gained 4 percent to $70.03.

CURRENCIES: The dollar continued to slip as investors reacted to signs the U.S. was making progress in resolving some of its trade disputes. The Trump administration has announced numerous tariffs this year, and those tariffs have made the dollar stronger.

The dollar rose to 111.17 yen from 111.10 yen. The euro rose to $1.1704 from $1.1680.

COLD SOUP: Campbell Soup lost 1.7 percent to $40 after the New York Post reported that the company is wrapping up a strategic review and is unlikely to try to sell itself. Campbell announced the review in May along with the departure of CEO Denise Morrison.

The Post reported in July that activist investor Daniel Loeb is pushing the company to sell, and if it decides not to do that, he could launch a bid for control of the company.

BONDS: Bond prices fell. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 2.88 percent from 2.85 percent.

High dividend stocks including utilities, phone companies and household goods makers lagged the rest of the market, as they did on Monday.

GOOD NEWS: News and financial information company Thomson Reuters jumped 3.6 percent to $44.83 after it announced an offer for up to $9 billion in company stock. It offered to pay between $42 and $47 a share.

FDA FALLOUT: Akcea Therapeutics plunged 26.3 percent to $24.40 and Ionis Pharmaceuticals dropped 15.7 percent to $45.29 after the Food and Drug Administration didn't approve their drug Waylivra. It's designed to treat a rare genetic condition that can causes fatal pancreatitis.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude dipped 0.5 percent to $68.53 a barrel in New York while Brent crude, used to price international oils, fell 0.3 percent to $76 a barrel in London.

Wholesale gasoline lost 0.5 percent to $2.08 a gallon. Heating oil 0.2 percent to $2.21 a gallon. Natural gas fell 0.8 percent to $2.85 per 1,000 cubic feet.

METALS: Gold fell 0.1 percent to $1,214.40 an ounce. Silver lost 0.6 percent to $14.77 an ounce. Copper gained 1 percent to $2.74 a pound.

OVERSEAS: France's CAC 40 rose 0.1 percent while Germany's DAX lost 0.1 percent. Britain's FTSE 100 jumped 0.5 percent.

Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 rose 0.1 percent. South Korea's Kospi edged up 0.2 percent and Hong Kong's Hang Seng added 0.2 percent.

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AP Markets Writer Marley Jay can be reached at http://twitter.com/MarleyJayAP His work can be found at https://apnews.com/search/marley%20jay

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