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U.S. stocks close mixed after industrials sell-off

Trader Joseph Lawler, right, works on the floor

Trader Joseph Lawler, right, works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, Thursday, Feb. 23, 2017. Credit: AP / Richard Drew

Major U.S. indexes ended with mixed results Thursday as investors sold industrial companies, which have surged over the last few months. They are selling stocks that are tightly linked to economic growth and buying gold, bonds, and companies that pay big dividends, like utilities. Technology companies are trading lower, which could end a 15-day winning streak for the sector.

ON WALL STREET: At the close, the Standard & Poor’s 500 index was up nearly a point at 2,363.8. The Dow Jones industrial average was up 34.7 points, about 0.2 percent, at 20,810.3, and the Nasdaq composite lost 25.1, about 0.4 percent, to 5,835.5.

OIL PRICES: At the close, benchmark U.S. crude oil was up 77 cents to $54.36 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. In London on the Intercontinental Exchange Europe, Brent crude, the standard for pricing international oils, rose 61 cents to $56.45 a barrel.

ON BONDS: Bond prices rose. At the close, the yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 2.388 percent.

INDUSTRIALS DECLINE: Industrial companies declined for the second day in a row, and took some of their biggest losses since the presidential election. They’ve made big gains since November as investors expect the Trump administration and Republican Congress to ramp up spending on infrastructure. That optimism faded a bit on Thursday.

COPPER DROP: The price of copper fell 3.3 percent to $2.64 a pound. That was its biggest one-day decline in more than a year. Copper is used in numerous construction projects, so its price has jumped recently. Companies that use basic materials also fell.

VICTORIA’S SECRET? L Brands, the owner of Victoria’s Secret and Bath & Body Works, tumbled after it said sales in February have been weak, especially at Victoria’s Secret. The company decided to stop selling swimwear last year and said sales at older stores have dropped sharply this month. The stock gave up $9.20, or 15.8 percent, to close at $48.93.

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