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Stocks rally deflates; markets close mixed

U.S. stocks rose and then lost moment Tuesday as markets closed mixed with tiny gains. Utilities and telecommunications companies rose, but energy and mining stocks continue to slump on fears that demand and prices will get worse.

At the close on Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average was up 27.9 points, about 0.2 percent, at 16,016. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index held on to a 1-point gain, about 0.05 percent, at 1,881.3. The Nasdaq composite lost 11.5 points, about 0.3 percent, to 4,577.

CRUDE ENERGY: As markets closed, the price of benchmark U.S. crude oil was down 98 cents, about 3.3 percent, to $28.44 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. In London, Brent crude, a benchmark for international oils, was up 26 cents, about 0.9 percent, at $28.81 a barrel.

Energy stocks continued to fall on concerns about reduced worldwide demand. Chesapeake Energy and Marathon Oil were down at the close

TOUGH YEAR: The first two weeks of this year were the worst start to a year in the history of the Dow and the S & P 500. Stocks have been hammered by concerns about the slowing Chinese economy, which is the second-largest in the world and an important contributor to global growth.

GAINERS: Utilities and telecommunications stocks traded higher. AT&T and NextEra Energy were among the gainers. Consumer goods maker Procter & Gamble and Mondelez both gained.

TIFFANY TUMBLES: Jewelry retailer Tiffany fell after it said sales dropped in the fourth quarter and said it will eliminate some jobs. The company also forecast minimal earnings and sales growth in 2016. The stock lost $3.63, or 5.4 percent, to $64.02.

EARNINGS: Delta Air Lines reported a bigger fourth-quarter profit because of falling fuel prices. Delta expects fuel to be even less expensive in the first quarter. Its shares closed with gains. Netflix, which was the biggest gainer on the S & P 500 in 2015, rose. It will report its fourth-quarter results after the market closes.

IPOS A NO-GO: So far not a single U.S. company has gone public this year, according to Kathy Smith of Renaissance Capital, a manager of IPO-focused exchange-traded funds. That should change this week, as Elevate Capital, which offers credit and related services to people with below-average credit, is expected to start trading Friday. But Smith said only two companies will go public this month. There were also just two IPOs in December, the fewest in any month since October 2011.

“The IPO market is pretty close to being closed,” Smith said.

Companies are reluctant to go public when the market is weak, and the companies that did go public last year weren’t rewarded for it: Smith says the companies that completed their IPOs in 2015 are down an average of 17 percent from their offering prices.

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