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Sunday December 8th, 2019 2:00PM

Tech, health care companies lead US stocks slightly lower

By The Associated Press
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Stocks edged lower in early trading on Wall Street Friday as the market pulled back after a week of record highs for the major indexes.

Trading volume was lighter than usual with the markets open for only a half day after the Thanksgiving holiday.

Technology and health care companies accounted for much of the selling. AutoDesk fell 1.2% and UnitedHealth Group dropped 0.9%.

Industrial stocks also fell. Westinghouse Air Brake Technologies fell 1.9%.

Energy companies dropped along with the price of crude oil. Halliburton lost 2.4%.

Big retailers were mixed as investors watched for signs that consumers turned out in force to snap up Black Friday holiday shopping deals. TJX, Ross Stores and Target rose, while Kohl’s, Gap, Nordstrom and Macy’s fell.

Despite the modest pullback, the S&P 500 was on track for a 1.2% weekly gain.

The stock market has been notching gains steadily since October, shaking off recession fears that helped knock stocks into a skid in August.

Surprisingly good corporate earnings, solid economic data and interest-rate cuts by the Federal Reserve have helped set the stage for the market's fall rally. Investors have also grown more optimistic about the prospects for a U.S.-China trade deal.

New U.S. tariffs are set to kick in on many Chinese-made products as of Dec. 15, but negotiators have said they might soon have a preliminary deal that could avert that.

KEEPING SCORE: The S&P 500 index was down 0.1% as of 10:14 a.m. Eastern time. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 45 points, or 0.2%, to 28,118. The Nasdaq dropped 0.1% and the Russell 2000 index of smaller company stocks gave up 0.3%.

Major stock indexes in Europe were mixed.

MONTH OF MILESTONES: The three major stock indexes have notched multiple record highs in recent weeks. That’s helped put them on track to close out November with strong gains.

The S&P 500 is up 3.7% for the month, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average is up 20.5% and the Nasdaq is up 4.8%.

ENERGY: A 2.5% slump in the price of U.S. crude oil weighed on energy sector stocks.

Benchmark crude oil dropped $1.46 to $56.65 per barrel. Brent crude oil, the international standard, gave up $1.53 to $61.73 per barrel.

BOND MARKET: Bond prices fell. The yield on the 10-year Treasury rose to 1.78% from 1.76% late Wednesday.

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Business, AP Business - Economy, AP Business - Financial Markets, AP Business - Industries, AP Business - Utilities, AP Business - Personal Finance
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