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U.S. stocks sag as investors dump retail shares, favor Icahn

Gregory Rowe follows stock prices at the New

Gregory Rowe follows stock prices at the New York Stock Exchange on Wednesday, Dec. 21, 2016. Photo Credit: AP / Mark Lennihan

Retailers took losses Thursday and pulled U.S. stocks lower in another day of mild trading before the holidays.

Bed Bath & Beyond was pummeled after the home goods retailer reported weak results, and investors also dumped companies like Target, Staples and Dollar Tree.

Chinese e-commerce company Alibaba fell after it was sanctioned by the U.S. government, and companies linked to investor Carl Icahn climbed after the billionaire was named as a future adviser to President-elect Donald Trump.

ANALYST’S OPINION: Quincy Krosby, a markets strategist for Prudential Financial, said investors were concerned about the weak earnings for Bed Bath & Beyond and about the jump in interest rates since the election. “When you have interest rates rising, at least initially, it tends to take a little bit from the discretionary [companies] because credit card payments move higher,” she said.

ON WALL STREET: At the close, the Dow Jones industrial average had shed 23.1 points, about 0.1 percent, to nearly 19,919. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index lost 4.2 points, about 0.2 percent, to nearly 2,261, and the Nasdaq composite dipped 24 points, about 0.4 percent, to 5,447.4.

OIL PRICES: As markets closed, benchmark U.S. crude was up 16 cents at $52.65 a barrel in trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. In London on the Intercontinental Exchange Europe, Brent crude, the international standard, had gained 38 cents to $54.84 a barrel.

BOND PRICES: Bond prices fell. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note climbed to 2.55 percent from 2.54 percent.

ALIBABA ON NAUGHTY LIST: The U.S. government put Chinese e-commerce company Alibaba back on a list of “notorious markets” because of fake goods listed on its Taobao site. The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative said Taobao sells large amounts of counterfeit goods and it is slow to respond when companies complain about knockoffs. Chinese regulators have also said Alibaba doesn’t do enough to prevent fake items from being sold on its sites. Alibaba stock on the New York Stock Exchange lost $2.21, or 2.5 percent, to $87.04.

U.S. TRADE POLICY: President-elect Donald Trump’s decision to name Peter Navarro, author of “Death by China,” to head a national trade council in his new administration raised concerns in Asia. “We expect this could set in motion more inward-looking U.S. trade policies, with significant risks for trade-dependent economies in the Asia-Pacific region,” analysts for the Japanese Mizuho Bank said in a commentary.

With Newsday staff

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