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US stocks mixed as retailers slump and tech companies rise

By The Associated Press
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NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stocks are little changed Thursday afternoon as retailers and media companies decline but technology and industrial companies rise. Retailers are down after women's clothing company J. Jill slashed its third-quarter forecast. AT&T is sinking after it said it expects to lose DirecTV subscribers.

KEEPING SCORE: The Standard & Poor's 500 index fell 4 points, or 0.2 percent, to 2,550 as of 3:40 p.m. Eastern time. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 37 points, or 0.2 percent, to 22,835. The Nasdaq composite dipped 9 points, or 0.1 percent, to 6,593. All three of those indexes closed at record highs Wednesday. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks was unchanged at 1,506.

Most of the stocks on the New York Stock Exchange traded higher.

BANKS: JPMorgan Chase and Citigroup both did better than analysts expected, but their stocks lost ground. Citigroup fell $2.31, or 3.1 percent, to $72.63 and JPMorgan Chase gave up 96 cents, or 1 percent, to $95.88. Other banks also slipped. Capital One declined $1.92, or 2.2 percent, to $84.83.

Bank stocks have made big gains over the last month, and 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."

BLANK SCREEN: AT&T is on track for its biggest fall since 2008 after it 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. It said tighter credit standards and hurricanes also affected its business. AT&T stock fell $2.17, or 5.7 percent, to $36.02.

Competitor Verizon Communications shed 58 cents, or 1.2 percent, to $48.28 and Comcast fell $1.49, or 4 percent, to $35.93. Dish Network slid $2.49, or 4.8 percent, to $49.16.

CABLE COMBAT: Viacom and cable company Charter Communications both fell on reports that contract negotiations between them are stalling. A contract between them expires Sunday, and Viacom channels like MTV and Nickelodeon could temporarily go off the air for subscribers to Charter's New York-area Spectrum service. Viacom dropped 59 cents, or 2.3 percent, to $24.63 and Charter gave up $6.42, or 1.8 percent, to $358.70.

LEADERS: Gains for railroads sent industrial companies higher. Norfolk Southern rose $2.12, or 1.6 percent, to $133.61 and CSX picked up 67 cents, or 1.3 percent, to $53.75.

Information technology company DXC climbed after it said it will combine its government services business with two companies owned by private equity firm Veritas Capital. DXC will own most of the new company and will get $1.05 billion in cash. DXC jumped $3.7, or 4.4 percent, to $91.55. Elsewhere Microsoft added 64 cents to $77.06.

PANIC IN THE AISLES: 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 $4.98, or 50.2 percent, to $4.95.

Retailer Express sank 47 cents, or 7.3 percent, to $5.94 and Chico's FAS lost 42 cents, or 5.3 percent, to $7.55. Gap lost $1, or 3.5 percent, to $27.43.

ENERGY: 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.

ALOHA AND ALOHA: 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 3 cents to $58.8 while Hawaiian Holdings lost 98 cents, or 2.4 percent, to $39.03.

METALS: Gold rose $7.60 to $1,296.50 an ounce. Silver gained added 13 cents to $17.27 an ounce. Copper added 2 cents to $3.12 a pound.

BONDS: Bond prices rose. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 2.32 percent from 2.35 percent.

CURRENCIES: The dollar inched down to 112.22 yen from 112.42 yen. The euro declined to $1.1836 from $1.1855.

EUROPE: The British FTSE 100 index rose 0.3 percent and closed at a record high as the pound dropped. That came after a European Union regulator said talks with Britain about its departure from the EU hadn't made any significant progress. The DAX in Germany continued to set records as it inched up 0.1 percent. France's CAC 40 fell less than 0.1 percent.

ASIA: Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 continued to reach 21-year highs and added 0.4 percent. The South Korean Kospi rose 0.7 percent and Hong Kong's Hang Seng advanced 0.3 percent.

___

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

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Business, AP Business - Corporate News, AP Business - Economy, AP Business - Financial Markets
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