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Stocks close lower despite early bank gains

Richard Scardino, center, works with fellow traders on

Richard Scardino, center, works with fellow traders on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, Monday, April 17, 2017.  Credit: AP / Richard Drew

U.S. stocks gave up a promising start and finished mostly lower yesterday as investors continued to worry about lagging wages and energy companies dropped with the price of oil.

Stocks climbed early on as a solid quarter from Morgan Stanley revived optimism about banks, and strong results from auto and industrial parts distributor Genuine Parts sent car makers and suppliers higher.

The gains began to fade around noon as oil prices and energy companies sagged. The losses accelerated after the mid-afternoon release of the Federal Reserve’s disappointing “Beige Book” survey of economic conditions.

The Fed said tepid economic growth continued from mid-March into early April and pay improved for some workers. But investors have been wondering when rising statistics like consumer confidence will start to turn into better pay and greater spending.

“Show me where those numbers are translating into something more than just feelings,” said Brent Schutte, chief investment strategist for Northwestern Mutual Wealth Management.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 index finished down 0.17 percent to 2,338.17. The Dow lost 118.79 points to 20,404.49. The Nasdaq composite rose 0.23 percent to 5,863.03. — AP

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