Stocks near biggest loss of 2017 as banks plunge

Stocks near biggest loss of 2017 as banks plunge

NEW YORK/March 21, 2017 (AP)(STL.News) — U.S. stocks are on track for their biggest loss this year as banks tumble with bond yields and industrial companies such as transportation stocks take large losses. Small-company stocks are falling more than the rest of the market, but most corners of the market are down substantially.

KEEPING SCORE: The Standard & Poor’s 500 index tumbled 22 points, or 1 percent, to 2,351 as of 2:40 p.m. Eastern time. It hasn’t taken a loss that large since October. The Dow Jones industrial average fell 189 points, or 0.9 percent, to 20,716. The Nasdaq composite surrendered 81 points, or 1.4 percent, to 5,819. The Russell 2000 index of small-company stocks plunged 27 points, or 2 percent, to 1,356. Three-quarters of the stocks on the New York Stock Exchange fell.

BONDS: Bond prices rose. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note declined to 2.43 percent from 2.46 percent. Lower interest rates hurt banks by reducing interest rates, which shrinks the profits financial institutions make on mortgages and other loans. Bank of America fell $1.37, or 5.6 percent, to $23.06 and Capital One shed $2.62, or 3 percent, to $84.16. Banks have climbed dramatically over the last five months.

Big-dividend companies, especially utilities, did well. Utilities moved higher. Dominion Resources rose $1.60, or 2.1 percent, to $78.43 and PPL gained 70 cents, or 1.9 percent, to $37.50. Some household goods makers also rose. Jack Daniel’s whisky maker Brown-Forman climbed 73 cents, or 1.6 percent, to $47.54.

HIT THE BRAKES: Transportation companies like airlines, railroads and rental car companies plunged. United Continental lost $1.56, or 2.3 percent, to $65.93 and railroad operator CSX declined $1.29, or 2.8 percent, to $45.59. Hertz Global skidded $2.66, or 12.5 percent, to $18.61. Companies that make steel, chemicals, and other basic materials also slid. AK Steel plunged 76 cents, or 9.3 percent, to $7.51 and U.S. Steel lost $2.90, or 7.8 percent, to $34.20.

The price of copper also dropped. The metal’s price tends to rise when investors are more optimistic about the economy, and copper has risen 14 percent over the last year. It sank 5 cents, or 1.8 percent, to $2.62 a pound on Tuesday.

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THE QUOTE: Kate Warne, an investment strategist for Edward Jones, said investors are taking some profits after the market’s long winning streak, and they are waiting for more information about the Trump administration’s plans. On Thursday the House of Representatives is scheduled to vote on the Republican-backed American Health Care Act, and despite support from President Donald Trump, its chances of passing the House and Senate are not clear.

“Some of the concerns about how long it will take to implement some of the policy changes are probably resurging in investors’ minds,” Warne said, adding that if the bill doesn’t pass, “the concern is what that means for corporate tax cuts.”

SOGGY CEREAL: Food companies fell after General Mills posted a better-than-expected profit but weaker sales. The Cheerios maker faces more competitive pricing and a market that has been shifting demand from processed foods. Its stock dipped 15 cents to $60.11, and Kellogg shed $1.02, or 1.4 percent, to $73.96 cents. Campbell Soup gave up $1.72, or 2.9 percent, to $57.28.

RETAIL WOES: Department store operator Kohl’s dropped 83 cents, or 2.2 percent, to $37.73 and Macy’s gave up 93 cents, or 3.1 percent, to $28.45. Gap fell 76 cents, or 3.1 percent, to $22.71 and athletic apparel company Under Armour lost 64 cents, or 3.5 percent, to $17.62.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude lost 88 cents, or 1.8 percent, to $47.34 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, closed down 66 cents, or 1.3 percent, to $50.96 a barrel in London.

METALS: The price of gold jumped $12.50, or 1 percent, to $1,246.50 an ounce. Silver gained 15 cents to $17.58 an ounce.

OTHER ENERGY TRADING: Wholesale gasoline lost 1 cent to $1.61 a gallon. Heating oil dipped 1 cent to $1.50 a gallon. Natural gas rose 5 cents, or 1.7 percent, to $3.09 per 1,000 cubic feet.

CURRENCIES: The dollar slipped to 111.90 yen from 112.58 yen. The euro rose to $1.0799 from $1.0733.

OVERSEAS: The DAX of Germany fell 1.1 percent and the British FTSE 100 lost 0.6 percent. France’s CAC 40 made big early gains after a debate between the nation’s candidates for president, but it finished 0.5 percent lower. Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 slipped 0.3 percent. The Kospi in South Korea rose 1 percent and in Hong Kong the Hang Seng rose 0.4 percent.

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MARLEY JAY, AP Markets Writer

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