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Thursday March 30th, 2017 8:33AM

US stocks slip further from record highs as banks decline

By The Associated Press
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NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stocks are falling for the second time in three days as banks return some of their recent gains. They surged last week as interest rates quickly rose. Mining and basic materials companies are down after China cut its economic growth forecast. Meat producer Tyson Foods is falling after avian flu was discovered at a supplier's farm.

KEEPING SCORE: The Standard & Poor's 500 index fell 7 points, or 0.3 percent, to 2,376 as of 1:30 p.m. Eastern time. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 39 points, or 0.2 percent, to 20,967. The Nasdaq composite lost 20 points, or 0.3 percent, to 5,850. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks sank 10 points, or 0.7 percent, to 1,384.

All four indexes reached all-time highs last week, and the S&P 500 and Nasdaq have risen for six weeks in a row.

TYSON SKIDS: More than 70,000 chickens were destroyed at a chicken farm because of a bird flu outbreak, and poultry companies slumped. The U.S. Department of Agriculture said around 30 poultry farms in the area have been quarantined. Tyson said the discovery won't affect its business, but for investors it brought back bad memories: in 2015, U.S. poultry producers lost 48 million birds to a different strain of the virus. The most recent U.S. detection of the virus was in January 2016 in a commercial turkey flock in Indiana.

Tyson stock gave up $1.55, or 2.4 percent, to $62.05. Sanderson Farms gave up $1.69, or 1.8 percent, to $92.70 and Pilgrim's Pride lost 20 cents to $20.76.

DRIVE IT OFF THE LOT: French automaker PSA Group agreed to buy General Motors' European business. The European unit hasn't made a profit for GM in 18 years, and investors were glad to see it go: GM's stock jumped almost 5 percent when the talks were disclosed last month. PSA already makes Peugeot and Citroen cars, and the addition of the Opel and Vauxhall brands will make it the second-largest automaker in Europe. Its stock rose 2.7 percent.

GM's stock dipped 45 cents, or 1.2 percent, to $37.78.

DEUTSCHE DOWN: Deutsche Bank said it will raise at least $8.5 billion in capital and sell a stake in its asset management business to shore up its finances. The bank is also giving up on its effort to sell Postbank, its retail banking business. Deutsche Bank has been struggling to make a profit recently and has cut costs and sold some businesses, but until recently, it said it would not issue new stock. The stock fell 70 cents, or 3.6 percent, to $18.65. The stock has tumbled 41 percent over the last two years.

BUMPY LANDING: Airlines fell. Delta Air Lines gave a disappointing revenue projection for the second quarter, saying its business isn't improving as quickly as it expected. Its stock lost $1.66, or 3.3 percent, to $48.47. United Continental declined $3.23, or 4.3 percent, to $72.36 and American Airlines slid $2.19, or 4.7 percent, to $44.64.

BANKS DEFLATE: Banks and other financial companies slipped after big gains in recent days. Major financial institutions like Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Chase have set all-time highs recently as banks staged a big post-election rally. The S&P 500 financial index is at its highest since December 2007. On Monday Fifth Third Bancorp gave up 43 cents, or 1.5 percent, to $27.42 and Bank of America retreated 21 cents to $25.23.

UNDER THE FLOORBOARDS: Armstrong Flooring reported a bigger quarterly loss and weaker sales than expected, and the flooring maker said it expects sales to remain weak in 2017. The stock dropped $2.53, or 11.5 percent, to $19.42.

CHINESE CONGRESS: Over the weekend Premier Li Keqiang, China's top economic official, trimmed the country's growth target to 6.5 percent and warned of dangers from global pressure for trade controls. Li promised to cut surplus steel production that is straining trade relations with Washington and Europe and pledged equal treatment for foreign companies. China is the second-largest economy in the world, and the prospect of lower growth hurt the price of copper.

Gold and copper miner Freeport-McMoRan slid 40 cents, or 3.1 percent, to $12.80. Steel companies also skidded. U.S. Steel fell 46 cents, or 1.2 percent, to $37.28.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude lost 21 cents to $53.12 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, dipped 6 cents to $55.84 a barrel in London. Natural gas companies rose as futures jumped 4.1 percent to $2.94 per 1,000 cubic feet. Southwestern Energy rose 33 cents, or 4.2 percent, to $8.04 and Cabot Oil & Gas picked up 69 cents, or 3.1 percent, to $23.05.

BONDS: Bond prices slipped. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 2.50 percent from 2.48 percent. Bond yields jumped last week as investors grew more certain the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates later this month.

Shares of companies that pay big dividends, like real estate investment trusts, continued to fall. Those stocks are often compared to bonds because of their high yields, and higher bond yields make them less appealing to investors.

CURRENCIES: The dollar inched down to 114.04 yen from 114.05 yen. The euro dipped to $1.0581 from $1.0605.

OVERSEAS: In Germany the DAX fell 0.6 percent. France's CAC 40 slipped 0.5 percent and the FTSE 100 in Britain shed 0.3 percent. Japan's Nikkei 225 stock index fell 0.5 percent and the South Korean Kospi gained 0.1 percent. Hong Kong's Hang Seng index 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 http://bigstory.ap.org/journalist/marley-jay

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Business, AP Business - Corporate News, AP Business - Economy, AP Business - Financial Markets, AP Business - Industries, AP Business - Agriculture, AP Business - Poultry & Egg, AP Business - Utilities
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