US stocks finish level as tech losses cancel out bank gains

AP Photo
AP Photo

NEW YORK — U.S. stocks came back from an early loss and finished almost unchanged Monday. Technology companies like Apple and Microsoft took big losses on fears about their overseas revenue, but bank stocks continued to surge along with bond yields.

Technology stocks have been weak since last week’s election, and they fell further Monday as investors wonder if Donald Trump’s policies as president will hurt their sales in China and other markets overseas. Bank stocks built on their post-election gains as bond yields continued to rise. That paves the way for banks to make more money from lending. Government bond yields are now at their highest levels since January.

“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.
The Dow Jones industrial average gained 21.03 points, or 0.1 percent, to close at 18,868.69, another all-time high. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index dipped 0.25 points to 2,164.20 after it fell as much as 0.4 percent earlier. The Nasdaq composite sank 18.72 points, or 0.4 percent, to 5,218.40.

Technology companies fell sharply, with familiar names taking some of the largest losses. Apple gave up $2.72, or 2.5 percent, to $105.71 while Facebook declined $3.94, or 3.3 percent, to $115.08 and Microsoft slid 90 cents, or 1.5 percent, to $58.12. Alphabet, the parent company of Google, slipped $18.53, or 2.4 percent, to $753.22.

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 U.S. Treasury note climbed to 2.25 percent from 2.14 percent late Thursday. Bond trading was closed Friday for the Veterans’ Day holiday. The day before the Nov. 8 election, the yield was 1.83 percent. That’s a huge move for that benchmark rate.

Goldman Sachs rose $5.24 percent, to 2.6 percent, to $209.18 and Bank of America rose $1.06, or 5.6 percent, to $20.08. JPMorgan Chase picked up $2.82, or 3.7 percent, to $79.51.

Stone said investors are focused on potential corporate and individual tax cuts, a “wave of deregulation” that eliminates some of the rules governing businesses like energy companies and banks, and more protectionism on trade, which could hurt sales for companies that do a lot of business overseas.

Investors are also pleased at the prospect of looser regulation and bigger profits. For example, Trump’s election could result in big changes to the Dodd-Frank financial reform bill or to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Stone added that corporate dealmaking could increase if Trump’s administration takes a looser approach to antitrust regulation. Several companies announced deals or deal offers Monday.

South Korean conglomerate Samsung said it will buy Harman International for $8 billion, or $112 a share. Harman makes electronics for cars including audio systems and safety and entertainment features. Its stock jumped $22.07, or 25.2 percent, to $109.72.

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 $5.61, or 18.3 percent, to $36.29.

Shares of communication adapter maker Digi International rose $1.75, or 15 percent, to $13.40 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 $1.52, or 2.2 percent, to $71.22.

The dollar rose against other currencies as U.S. interest rates rose. It jumped to 108.51 Japanese yen from 106.78 yen. The euro fell to $1.0726 from $1.0845.

Investors are also selling companies that pay big dividends like utilities and phone companies as bonds become more appealing to investors seeking income. Verizon fell 51 cents, or 1.1 percent, to $46.18 and American Electric Power lost $1.27, or 2.1 percent, to $58.72.

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.

In 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.

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.

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 Kospi in South Korea lost 0.5 percent and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng slipped 1.4 percent.

WFLA.com provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s