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Stock market indexes sink as tech companies fall

Trader George Ettinger on the floor of the

Trader George Ettinger on the floor of the NYSE, Wednesday, Aug. 16, 2017.  Credit: AP / Richard Drew

Stocks are taking broad losses Thursday, led by declines in technology companies. Cisco Systems dropped after issuing a disappointing sales forecast, and retailers were also weak as Walmart slumped. Bond prices rose, sending yields lower.

KEEPING SCORE: The Standard & Poor’s 500 index dropped 25 points, or 1 percent, to 2,442 as of 1:50 p.m. Thursday on Wall Street. The Dow Jones industrial average declined 187 points, or 0.9 percent, to 21,837. The Nasdaq composite lost 86 points, or 1.4 percent, to 6,258. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks fell 14 points, or 1 percent, to 1,369.

WALMART HITS A WALL: Walmart Stores did better than analysts expected in the second quarter as shoppers spent more money on its website and more people came to its stores. Wal-Mart stock has rallied over the last month, but Thursday’s results weren’t enough to keep that going. The stock lost $1.35, or 1.7 percent, to $79.63 although it is still up 8 percent since July 10.

Other retailers slipped as well. Amazon fell $12.90, or 1.3 percent, to $965.28 and Macy’s lost 45 cents, or 2.2 percent, to $19.70.

STRIPPED BARE: L Brands, the parent of Victoria’s Secret, tumbled after it cut its annual profit forecast because of weakening sales. The company said an important sales measurement dropped 8 percent, more than the company had anticipated. L Brands has been slipping all year because of the difficult business conditions for retailers and its own struggles after it stopped selling swimwear. The stock retreated $3.19, or 8.2 percent, to $35.76 and it’s down 46 percent this year.

EARNINGS GAINS: Overall it’s been another strong quarter of corporate earnings. Per-share profits for S&P 500 companies have grown almost 11 percent in the second quarter versus the same period a year ago. Profits for energy companies have quadrupled because the price of oil has stabilized, and technology companies have also posted big gains. Consumer-focused companies haven’t done as well.

ROUTER OUTAGE: Cisco Systems fell $1.40, or 4.3 percent, to $30.95 after it said sales will decline in the current quarter. It’s expecting a decline of 1 to 3 percent from the $12.4 billion in revenue it reported a year ago.

Data storage company NetApp offered a forecast for the current quarter that disappointed investors. Its stock lost $2.61, or 6.2 percent, to $39.80. Elsewhere, Apple retreated $2.10, or 1.3 percent, to $158.85 while software maker Adobe Systems skidded $3.16, or 2.1 percent, to $148.64 and chipmaker Texas Instruments fell $1.82, or 2.2 percent, to $80.64.

BONDS: Bond prices inched higher. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 2.20 percent from 2.23 percent.

NOT A RENTAL: United Rentals said it will buy smaller competitor Neff for $25 a share, or $596 million. Neff said earlier this week that it received an offer but did not name the buyer. Neff had previously accepted an offer of $21.07 a share from H&E Equipment Services, which declined to make a bigger offer. United Rentals climbed 42 cents to $112.39. Neff, which dipped on Wednesday, rose 30 cents, or 1.2 percent, to $24.85.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude rose 31 cents to $47.09 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, added 67 cents, or 1.3 percent, to $50.94 a barrel in London.

METALS: Gold rose $9.50 to $1,292.40 an ounce. Silver added 11 cents to $17.05 an ounce. Copper lost 2 cents to $2.94 a pound.

CURRENCIES: The dollar dipped to 109.77 yen from 110.16 yen. The euro fell to $1.1743 from $1.1769.

OVERSEAS: Germany’s DAX fell 0.5 percent and the CAC 40 of France shed 0.6 percent. Britain’s FTSE 100 also gave up 0.6 percent. The Japanese Nikkei 225 index edged 0.1 percent lower and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng dropped 0.2 percent. In South Korea, the Kospi gained 0.6 percent.


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