US Stock Indexes Are Mostly Higher In Morning Trading
NEW YORK (AP) - The major U.S. stock indexes were mostly higher in morning trading Friday as gains by retailers and consumer goods companies outweighed losses in other sectors. Technology stocks were among the biggest decliners. Energy companies fell along with the price of crude oil. Bond yields surged to the highest level in more than three years. Investors were monitoring developments in Washington ahead of a possible federal government shutdown this weekend.
KEEPING SCORE: The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 4 points, or 0.2 percent, to 2,802 as of 11:30 a.m. Eastern Time. The Dow Jones industrial average slid 31 points, or 0.1 percent, to 25,987. The Nasdaq added 21 points, or 0.3 percent, to 7,317. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks picked up 10 points, or 0.7 percent, to 1,587. More stocks rose than fell on the New York Stock Exchange.
SHUTDOWN SHOWDOWN: U.S. House lawmakers voted for a stopgap funding bill to keep agency doors open and federal workers at their jobs until mid-February, but Senate Democrats and some Republicans were expected to block it on Friday. A shutdown could hurt consumer spending and rattle markets, though it's unlikely to cause widespread economic damage, Credit Suisse economists said in a note on Thursday.
THE QUOTE: Going by past federal government shutdowns, they typically don't last very long and the majority of the government remains funded, noted Jeramey Lynch, global investment specialist with J.P. Morgan Private Bank in Michigan.
"We expect the market to move past it and not to be too caught off guard if that were to happen," Lynch said.
BOND YIELDS: Bond prices fell. The yield on the 10-year Treasury rose to 2.64 percent from 2.63 percent late Thursday. The yield is now at the highest level since September 2014, when it hit a high of 2.647 percent.
NOT A DRAG: Tobacco companies, beverage makers and other consumer products stocks rose. Altria Group gained 86 cents, or 1.2 percent, to $70.89. Philip Morris International picked up $2.26, or 2.2 percent, to $107.33.
RISING RETAIL: Investors bid up shares in retailers, cruise lines and other consumer-focused companies. Nike led the pack, climbing 3.6 percent. The stock was the biggest gainer in the S&P 500 index, adding $2.29 to $66.41.
BOARDROOM MAKEOVER: Lowe's rose 3 percent after the home-improvement supply retailer named three new directors. The stock added $3.06 to $104.42.
BETTING ON BANKS: Financials stocks posted solid gains. Regions Financial picked up 39 cents, or 2.1 percent, to $18.54.
PRIME HIKE: Amazon was trading higher after the e-commerce giant said it will raise the price of its Prime membership monthly plan by nearly 20 percent. Starting Friday, new monthly members will pay $12.99 a month, up from $10.99. The stock picked up $2.98 to $1,296.30.
TECH SLIDE: Technology stocks were among the biggest decliners, giving up some of their recent gains. Qorvo slid $3.11, or 4.4 percent, to $67.59.
NOT BUYING: American Express fell 2.4 percent after the credit card issuer suspended its share buy-back program for six months. The stock shed $2.38 to $97.48.
ENERGY: Oil futures were down after the International Energy Agency said U.S. oil production would rise sharply this year. Benchmark U.S. crude lost 63 cents to $63.32 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, used to price international oils, fell 79 cents to $68.52 a barrel.
The decline in oil prices weighed on energy sector stocks. Range Resources slid 45 cents, or 2.7 percent, to $16.02.
CURRENCIES: The dollar fell to 110.63 yen from 111.98 yen on Thursday. The euro weakened to $1.2228 from $1.2242.
BITCOIN: The price of bitcoin gained 3.7 percent to $11,663, according to the tracking site CoinDesk. Bitcoin futures on the Cboe Futures Exchange were down 0.4 percent to $11,720. The futures allow investors to make bets on the future price of bitcoin.
MARKETS OVERSEAS: Major stock indexes in Europe notched gains. Germany's DAX rose 1 percent and France's CAC 40 added 0.4 percent. Britain's FTSE 100 gained 0.3 percent. In Asia, Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 edged up 0.2 percent, while South Korea's Kospi gained 0.2 percent. Hong Kong's Hang Seng ended 0.4 percent higher.
-By Alex Veiga, AP Business Writer