US stock indexes mixed in early trading; Oil falls

Friday, February 24, 2017, Vol. 41, No. 8

U.S. stock indexes were mostly lower in early trading Thursday, giving up some of their gains from a day earlier when the market surged to its latest record high. Materials stocks were down the most. Energy companies also fell as crude prices headed lower. Utilities were up the most. Investors were sizing up the latest batch of company earnings.

KEEPING SCORE: The Dow Jones industrial average slipped 5 points, less than 0.1 percent, to 21,108 as of 10:18 a.m. Eastern Time. The Standard & Poor's 500 index fell 6 points, or 0.3 percent, to 2,389. The Nasdaq composite index slid 16 points, or 0.3 percent, to 5,887. The stock market was coming off its biggest single-day gain in nearly four months.

UNAPPETIZING OUTLOOK: Kroger slid 3.3 percent after the supermarket operator said business conditions in the first half of 2017 will remain difficult due to low food prices. The stock fell $1.06 to $31.01.

SHAKEN UP: Shake Shack was down 3.9 percent after the restaurant chain's sales at established locations and its revenue outlook fell short of Wall Street's forecasts. Its shares lost $1.42 to $34.70.

SAD ENDING: Barnes & Noble tumbled 7.3 percent after the book seller reported weaker-than-expected quarterly earnings and sales of its Nook e-book reader. The company also said business worsened in late January and into the current quarter and forecast a bigger decline in sales at established locations. Its shares slid 72 cents to $9.18.

ENERGIZED: Monster Beverage jumped 15 percent after the company's latest quarterly earnings and revenue exceeded Wall Street's expectations. The stock climbed $6.31 to$48.32.

FED IN FOCUS: Several Federal Reserve officials, including Fed Chair Janet Yellen, are scheduled to speak this week ahead of their next policy meeting later this month. Earlier this week, New York Fed President William Dudley said the case for raising interest rates had gotten stronger. That's helped fuel speculation that the central bank will raise interest rates again this month.

JOBLESS CLAIMS: The Labor Department said unemployment benefit claims dropped last week to 223,000, the lowest level since March 1973. The four-week average, which is less volatile, fell to 234,250, lowest since April 1973. Overall, 2.07 million Americans are collecting unemployment benefits, down more than 7 percent from a year ago.

MARKETS OVERSEAS: In Europe, Germany's DAX was flat percent, while France's CAC 40 was 0.2 percent higher. Britain's FTSE 100 was flat. Earlier in Asia, Tokyo's Nikkei 225 stock index rose 0.9 percent, while the Hang Seng index in Hong Kong added 0.5 percent. The Kospi in South Korea climbed 0.7 percent.
OIL: The price of U.S. crude fell 83 cents, or 1.5 percent, at $52.99 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, was down 87 cents, or 1.6 percent, at $55.49 a barrel.

TREASURY YIELDS: Bond prices fell, pushing yields higher. The 10-year Treasury yield rose to 2.49 percent from 2.46 percent late Wednesday.

CURRENCIES: The dollar strengthened to 114.45 yen from 113.71 yen on Wednesday. The euro weakened to $1.0510 from $1.0544.