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US stocks mixed as banks stumble; health care climbs

Federal Hall's George Washington statue stands near the

Federal Hall's George Washington statue stands near the flag-covered pillars of the NYSE on July 8, 2015. Credit: AP

U.S. stock indexes finished nearly back where they started Thursday as steep losses for banks and insurance companies were balanced out by gains in health care and technology companies.

Banks skidded as bond yields reached their lowest levels of the year, which sent interest rates down. Insurance companies plunged as investors weighed the prospects of big losses caused by Hurricane Irma, which is hitting the north Caribbean and is projected to reach Florida this weekend. Payment processing companies rose after Mastercard increased its revenue forecasts, while losses for Comcast and Disney hurt media companies.

The economy “is going to suffer a few dents from the storms,” said John DeClue, chief investment officer for U.S. Bank Private Wealth Management. But he said the economy “is in remarkably good shape,” and that won’t change even if damage from hurricanes Harvey and Irma slows economic growth for a few months.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 index edged down 0.44 points to 2,465.10. The Dow Jones industrial average dipped 22.86 points, or 0.1 percent, to 21,784.78. The Nasdaq composite rose 0.1 percent, to 6,397.87. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks lost 0.3 percent, to 1,398.67. — AP

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