US Stocks Mixed as Investors Mull Trade, Economic Concerns

AP Photo by Mark Lennihan

NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stocks were mixed in early trading on Monday as investors pulled back a bit amid worries about the trade war and economic growth.

Health care, communications and bank stocks dipped, with health insurer UnitedHealth falling 1.4% and AT&T shedding 1%.

Higher bond prices pushed down yields on 10-year Treasury notes to 1.68% from 1.75% late Friday. The lower yields weighed on bank stocks. Banks rely on bond yields to set lucrative interest rates on loans.

Makers of consumer products, including Procter & Gamble and Pepsico, made gains in the early going. Utilities swung between small gains and losses. Investors typically shift to both those sectors and bonds when they are seeking safer places to put their money amid worries about economic growth.

Technology stocks also held up well and helped offset some of the health care and bank declines. Apple did most of the heavy lifting with a 0.5% gain, though chipmaker Nvidia rose 1.4%.

Investors are preparing for the start of the next round of corporate earnings and several key companies this week could provide a clearer picture of the U.S.-China trade war’s ongoing impact. Nike, which could be a gauge of the trade war’s effect on shoemakers and retailers, will report fiscal first quarter results on Tuesday. Technology company Micron will report its fiscal fourth quarter results on Thursday.

KEEPING SCORE: The S&P 500 fell 0.1% as of 10 a.m. Eastern time. The Dow Jones Industrial Average shed 48 points, or 0.2%, to 26,887. The Nasdaq fell 0.2%.

OVERSEAS: Stocks in Europe fell broadly as Germany’s economy contracted to its lowest level in nearly seven years, according to IHS Markit. Germany is Europe’s largest economy and often acts as a gauge for the continent’s economic health. The latest data adds to worries that Europe is facing a slowdown in economic growth.

Asian stocks edged lower.

MARKET WORRIES: Stocks are coming off of their first week of losses after three straight gains and investors are keeping a close watch on the United Nations General Assembly this week.

Oil prices and the energy sector could experience more volatility as President Donald Trump seeks a coalition to confront Iran after the U.S. blamed it for last week’s strike on a Saudi Arabian oil facility.

Prospects for a trade war resolution seem to have once again cooled following comments by Trump that he doesn’t necessarily need to make a deal before the next U.S. elections in 2020. Chinese officials canceled a planned trip to farms in Montana and Nebraska, an action that raised concerns of yet another halt in trade negotiations.

U.S. and Chinese officials are expected to meet in October to restart trade talks.

THINLY STOCKED: E-commerce company Overstock.com fell 12.6% after the company cut its financial forecast partly because tariffs have increased the costs of goods from China. It also named Jonathan Johnson as its new CEO. He has been acting CEO since August when Patrick Byrne resigned.

 

By AP reporter Damian J. Troise

Categories: Finance, National News, Today’s Business News

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