US stocks wobble as tech losses cancel out bank gains

Trader Gordon Charlop works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, Monday, Nov. 14, 2016. Stocks are opening modestly higher on Wall Street, led by gains in banks as interest rates continue to rise. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
Trader Gordon Charlop works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, Monday, Nov. 14, 2016. Stocks are opening modestly higher on Wall Street, led by gains in banks as interest rates continue to rise. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stocks are wavering between small gains and losses Monday as technology companies like Apple and Microsoft take big losses on fears about their overseas revenue. That’s canceling out huge gains for banks, which are trading higher as bond yields rise to their highest levels since January. Higher bond yields, in turn, are hurting shares of companies that pay big dividends.

KEEPING SCORE: The Dow Jones industrial average gained 7 points to 18,854 as of 2:53 p.m. Eastern time. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index held steady at 2,163. The Nasdaq composite sank 17 points, or 0.3 percent, to 5,219.

TECH TROUBLES: Technology companies fell sharply, with familiar names taking some of the largest losses. Those stocks have struggled over the last few days as investors wonder if Donald Trump’s policies as president will hurt their sales in China and other markets overseas.

Apple gave up $2.68, or 2.5 percent, to $105.75 while Facebook declined $3.06, or 2.6 percent, to $115.96 and Microsoft slid 99 cents, or 1.7 percent, to $58.03. Alphabet, the parent company of Google, slipped $15.09, or 2 percent, to $756.67.

BANK BONANZA: Bank stocks continued to surge, as they’ve done since the election. Higher bond yields point to higher interest rates and bigger profits for banks from lending money. Investors have been selling bonds, pushing yields higher, as they expect the spending plans of President-elect Trump to lead to higher inflation.

Investors are also pleased at the prospect of looser regulation and bigger profits. Trump’s election could result in big changes to the Dodd-Frank financial reform bill or to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Goldman Sachs made the biggest gain among Dow stocks as it rose $4.92, or 2.4 percent, to $208.86 and Bank of America rose 83 cents, or 4.4 percent, to $19.85. JPMorgan Chase picked up $2.31, or 3 percent, to $79.

BONDS: Bond prices fell and yields jumped as investors anticipated that Trump’s spending plans would lead to higher inflation and more government borrowing.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose sharply, to 2.22 percent from 2.06 percent. The day before the Nov. 8 presidential election the yield was 1.83 percent.

THE QUOTE: “The market is sniffing out the belief that some of these Trump policies may drive some better economic growth but also may in fact be somewhat inflationary,” said PNC Chief Investment Strategist Bill Stone.

Stone said investors are focused on corporate and individual tax cuts, a “wave” of cuts in regulations that affect businesses like energy companies and banks, and more protectionism on trade, which could hurt sales for companies that do a lot of business overseas.

DOING DEALS: South Korean conglomerate Samsung said it will buy Harman International for $8 billion, or $112 a share. Harman makes products for connected cars including audio systems and safety and entertainment features. Its stock jumped $22.17, or 25.3 percent, to $109.82.

MENTORING: German industrial equipment company Siemens agreed to buy software maker Mentor Graphics for $4.5 billion, or $37.25 a share. Mentor’s stock rose $5.62, or 18.3 percent, to $36.30.

DIG IT: Shares of communication adapter maker Digi International rose $1.78, or 15.2 percent, to $13.43 after the company said it received an offer from Belden, a communications equipment company. Digi said it rejected the bid of $13.82 a share, or about $359 million, because it’s too low. Belden stock added 75 cents, or 1.1 percent, to $70.45.

CURRENCIES: The dollar rose against other currencies as U.S. interest rates rose. It jumped to 108.44 Japanese yen from 106.78 yen. The euro fell to $1.0729 from $1.0845.

ENERGY: Oil prices bounced back from a big loss early on. Benchmark U.S. crude slipped just 9 cents to $43.32 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, lost 32 cents to $44.43 a barrel in London.

DIVIDEND PAYERS DIVE: Investors are also selling companies that pay big dividends like utilities and phone companies as bonds become more appealing to investors seeking income. Phone and utility companies and household goods makers traded lower. Those stocks are most appealing to investors when bond yields are low. American Tower fell $3.13, or 3 percent, to $102.58 and Duke Energy lost $1.03, or 1.4 percent, to $74.21.

OTHER ENERGY TRADING: Wholesale gasoline lost 3 cents to $1.28 a gallon. Heating oil fell 2 cents to $1.39 a gallon. Natural gas jumped 13 cents, or 5 percent, to $2.75 per 1,000 cubic feet.

METALS: Gold fell $2.60 to $1,221.70 an ounce. Silver lost 49 cents, or 2.8 percent, to $16.89 an ounce. Copper picked up 1 cent to $2.52 a pound.

OVERSEAS: France’s CAC 40 rose 0.4 percent and Germany’s DAX added 0.2 percent. The FTSE 100 index of leading British shares closed 0.3 percent higher. In Japan the Nikkei 225 jumped 1.7 percent after a strong reading on Japan’s economic growth. The dollar has been particularly strong against the Japanese yen lately and that’s helped the country’s exporters. Most other Asian markets fell. The Kospi in South Korea lost 0.5 percent and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng slipped 1.4 percent.

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