Global stocks pull back

Global stocks pull back

Global stocks pull back

Stan Choe

Stocks around the world pulled back Thursday following a record-setting run that marked the longest winning streak in over 3 years for the S&P 500 index. U.S. stock indexes receded from their latest all-time highs reached a day earlier. The dollar's value fell against rival currencies, and Treasury yields fell as bond prices rose. Energy companies fell the most.

KEEPING SCORE: The Standard & Poor's 500 index lost 6 points, or 0.3 per cent, to 2,342 as of 1:25 p.m. Eastern time. A day earlier, it again set a record high after rising for the seventh straight day, its longest winning streak in three and a half years.

The Dow Jones industrial average lost 30 points, or 0.1 per cent, to 20,582. The Nasdaq composite gave back 16 points, or 0.3 per cent, to 5,803. Two stocks fell for every one that rose on the New York Stock Exchange.

SLOWING DOWN: The market has screamed higher in recent weeks on hopes that President Donald Trump can push through lower taxes for businesses, looser regulations and more business-friendly policies. ``And on top of that, we've had a pretty darn good earnings season'' that has pushed stocks even higher, said Nate Thooft, senior portfolio manager at Manulife Asset Management. ``It just needs a little bit of a breather today.''

AVON CALLING ... FOR HELP: Avon Products, a direct seller of cosmetics, plunged after disclosed weak sales. The company said the number of sales representatives, who are famous for selling its products door to door, slipped compared to a year ago. It also took an unexpected charge related to bad debt. The stock dropped $1.01, or 17.2 per cent, to $4.85.

NO VACATION: TripAdvisor fell to the worst loss in the S&P 500 after reporting weaker revenue and earnings than Wall Street had forecast. It dropped $4.98, or 9.5 per cent, to $47.72.

TECH GAINS: Technology stocks rose following encouraging earnings reports. Cisco Systems gained 91 cents, or 2.8 per cent, to $33.74. NetApp, a data storage company, jumped $1.62, or 4.2 per cent, to $40.55. Both were among the biggest gainers in the S&P 500 after reporting bigger profits for their latest quarter than analysts expected.

CYCLING HIGHER: Stericycle jumped to the biggest gain in the S&P 500 after the medical waste company reported stronger-than-expected earnings and revenue for its latest quarter. The stock rose $5.92, or 7.6 per cent, to $83.31.

YIELDS: Treasury yields pulled back, giving back some of their increase from the prior day. The 10-year Treasury yield fell to 2.45 per cent from 2.50 per cent late Wednesday. The two-year Treasury yield fell to 1.21 per cent from 1.25 per cent, and the 30-year yield fell to 3.04 per cent from 3.08 per cent.

DIVIDEND DEMAND: Lower bond yields make big-dividend payers more attractive to income investors, and the biggest payers gained. Utilities rose 0.6 per cent, most among the 11 sectors in the S&P 500. Real-estate investment trusts, which also pay big dividends, rose 0.4 per cent.

WILL KATE SPADE GET BAGGED? Handbag maker Kate Spade climbed after the company said it is considering options that could include a sale. Its stock, which traded around three-year lows in December, jumped $2.69, or 13.7 per cent, to $22.36.

TAKING ILL: Molina Healthcare, which provides Medicaid-related services, tumbled $9.65, or 16.1 per cent, to $50.24. The company had a weak fourth quarter as its government health care exchange business struggled.

AROUND THE WORLD: Markets around the world also slowed. In Europe, the French CAC 40 fell 0.5 per cent, the German DAX index fell 0.4 per cent and the U.K. FTSE 100 also slipped 0.4 per cent. In Asia, Japan's Nikkei 225 index fell 0.5 per cent, the South Korean Kospi dipped 0.1 per cent and the Hang Seng in Hong Kong rose 0.5 per cent.

ECONOMIC UPDATES: Homebuilders broke ground on fewer projects last month than in December, but the figures were a bit better than economists had forecast. A measure of manufacturing in the Philadelphia region suggested that growth is improving, and that figure also beat estimates.

The reports followed two big ones on Wednesday, which showed that rising optimism among shoppers may be translating into increased spending and that inflation is on the rise. Strong signs on the economy such as those could push the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates sooner or more quickly than investors had thought.

COMMODITIES: Benchmark U.S. crude added 22 to $53.33 per barrel. Brent crude, the international standard, lost 6 cents to $55.69 a barrel. Natural gas fell 6 cents to $2.86 per 1,000 cubic feet.

Gold rose $7.10 to $1,240.20 per ounce, silver rose 10 cents to $18.06 per ounce and copper fell 2 cents to $2.72 per pound.

CURRENCIES: The dollar fell to 113.29 yen from 114.26 late Wednesday. The euro rose to $1.0661 from $1.0591, and the British pound rose to $1.2498 from $1.2445.

The Associated Press

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