Oil Prices And Energy Companies Tumble; Other Stocks Rise

AP Photo/Mark Lennihan
In this May 10, 2018, file photo, stock screens are shown at the New York Stock Exchange. The U.S. stock market opens at 9:30 a.m. EDT on Friday, May 25.


NEW YORK (AP) — Energy companies and oil prices are sinking again Friday morning on reports OPEC countries plan to produce more oil soon. Overall U.S. stocks are slightly lower as falling bond yields put pressure on banks, but they are helping dividend-payers like household goods makers. Airlines are climbing as investors anticipate lower fuel costs. Gap is tumbling after it had a weak first quarter as its namesake brand continued to struggle.

KEEPING SCORE: The S&P 500 index slid 3 points, or 0.1 percent, to 2,724 as of 11:30 a.m. Eastern time. The Dow Jones industrial average fell 15 points, or 0.1 percent, to 24,795. The Nasdaq composite climbed 17 points, or 0.2 percent, to 7,442 as technology and consumer-focused companies moved higher. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks lost 1 point, or 0.1 percent, to 1,626.

The New York Stock Exchange was evenly split between winners and losers.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude dropped 3.5 percent to $68.25 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, fell 2.5 percent to $76.79 a barrel in London. According to multiple reports, countries including Saudi Arabia and Russia want OPEC to produce more oil. The nations agreed to reduce production last year in response to a big buildup in supplies that pushed prices lower, but they could change their policy at a meeting in June. If so, it could reduce profits for energy companies.

Exxon Mobil fell 1.9 percent to $78.71 and Hess tumbled 5.4 percent to $59.04. The S&P 500 energy index is down 5 percent this week. That would be its worst loss since early February.

Airlines rallied. Delta gained 2.6 percent to $55.83 and American rose 4.3 percent to $45.44. The stocks have skidded over the last few months as the rising price of oil increased their fuel costs and cut into their profits. Delta stock is essentially flat in 2018 and American Airlines has fallen 13 percent.

BONDS: Bond prices kept rising. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 2.93 percent form 2.98 percent. Bank stocks fell. KeyCorp lost 1 percent to $20.12 and Citigroup fell 0.9 percent to $68.69.

Household goods makers broke out of their recent struggles. Toothpaste maker Colgate-Palmolive added 2.2 percent to $63.84 and Cheerios maker General Mills rose 1.8 percent to $42.95. The stocks, and others that pay large dividends, have lagged behind the rest of the market as investors found technology firms and consumer-focused more attractive thanks to strong growth in the U.S. economy, and rising yields have made bonds more appealing investments.

RETAIL ROUNDUP: Gap dropped 13.5 percent to $28.50 following a drop in sales for Gap brand stores. Gap has been shifting focus away from the namesake brand because it's not connecting with shoppers and has struggled to separate itself from rivals. Its Old Navy and Banana Republic brands fared better. Elsewhere, discount retailer Ross Stores gave up 6.3 percent to $77.73 after it gave disappointing forecasts for the current quarter and the full year.

IF THE SHOE FITS: Foot Locker blew past estimates and said sales of premium shoes continue to improve, which has been a major concern for it and other sporting goods companies. The stock jumped 14.4 percent to $53.05. Shoe Carnival leaped 17.4 percent to $30.91 after it beat expectation in the first quarter. It, too, said athletic shoe sales improved.

Sporting goods retailer Hibbett Stores fell 13.7 percent to $24.70 after it said greater sales of clearance items and higher shipping costs hurt its profit. Its sales fell a bit short of analyst projections.

CHRYSLER WOES: Fiat Chrysler fell 1.9 percent to $21.83 after saying it's recalling 4.8 million vehicles in the U.S. because in rare circumstances drivers may not be able to turn off the cruise control. The company warned owners not to use cruise control until the cars, SUVs and trucks can be fixed with a software update. Drivers can still stop the cars using the brakes.

CURRENCIES: The dollar rose to 109.34 yen from 109.28 yen. The euro fell to $1.1657 from $1.1727

OVERSEAS: Germany's DAX rose 0.2 percent and France's CAC 40 fell 0.3 percent. Britain's FTSE 100 dipped 0.1 percent. Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 index rose 0.1 percent and South Korea's Kospi lost 0.2 percent. Hong Kong's Hang Seng shed 0.6 percent.

– by Marley Jay, AP reporter

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