U.S. Stock Indexes Edge Lower in Afternoon Trading

(AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)
(AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)

(AP) - Energy companies led U.S. stocks slightly lower in afternoon trading Wednesday, following another slide in crude oil prices. Banks and health care companies were also pulling the market lower, while consumer-focused stocks and telecom sector companies moved higher. In the absence of major economic news, investors monitored company earnings.

KEEPING SCORE: The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 25 points, or 0.1 percent, to 18,507 as of 1:10 p.m. Eastern time. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index shed four points, or 0.2 percent, to 2,177. The Nasdaq composite index decreased 16 points, or 0.3 percent, to 5,208. The Nasdaq was coming off a record high close on Tuesday.

THE QUOTE: “There are just not a lot of people around, and the moves are pretty small in the scheme of things,” said David Lefkowitz, senior equity strategist at UBS Wealth Management Americas.

EYE ON CONSUMERS: Corporate earnings, most of which have now been reported, seem to have been relatively good for the second quarter. A strong jobs report last Friday boosted investors’ confidence in the U.S. economy. Investors should get some insight into the health of consumer demand this week as several major retailers report quarterly results and the government delivers its latest monthly retail sales figures on Friday.

THE QUOTE: “The volumes have been very light and you don’t have much key economic news coming out in the U.S. this week,” said Sean Lynch, co-head of global equity strategy at Wells Fargo Investment Institute. “But sometimes that’s when you get some real moves in the market.”

DOSE OF TROUBLE: Perrigo sank 10.1 percent after the pharmaceuticals company cut its guidance for the year, citing growing competition and falling prescription drug prices. The stock fell $9.56 to $85.53.

WHERE’S THE REVENUE: Wendy’s fell 2.3 percent after the hamburger chain said a key sales measure fell sharply in its latest quarter. Its shares slid 23 cents to $9.96.

SCORCHED: Traders sought shade from SunPower after the solar products and service company tumbled 30.6 percent. The company said its power plant business is struggling amid growing competition and project delays. The stock fell $4.52 to $10.26.

NOT IN STYLE: Michael Kors slid 1 percent after the clothing company forecast weaker sales for the current quarter and lowered its outlook for sales at established stores. The stock fell 48 cents to $49.63.

GOOD REVIEW: Yelp jumped 14 percent after the online business review portal reported strong quarterly results. The stock rose $4.59 to $37.23.

FASHIONABLE RESULTS: Watch and accessories maker Fossil Group and clothing company Ralph Lauren surged after the retailers delivered strong quarterly results. Fossil added 41 cents, or 1.4 percent, to reach $30.78, while Ralph Lauren gained $9.91, or 10.4 percent, to hit $104.98.

GLOBAL MARKETS: In Europe, Germany’s DAX fell 0.4 percent, while France’s CAC 40 dipped 0.4 percent. Britain’s FTSE 100 rose 0.2 percent. Earlier, Japan’s Nikkei 225 lost 0.2 percent despite a report showing private sector machinery orders rebounded in June from May. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng edged up 0.1 percent, while Australia’s S&P ASX 200 fell 0.2 percent. South Korea’s Kospi added less than 0.1 percent. Stocks in Taiwan and Singapore also were higher, but markets in China, Indonesia and New Zealand declined.

OIL: A bigger-than-expected increase in U.S. oil stockpiles last week weighed on the price of crude, reversing an early gain. Benchmark U.S. crude was down 86 cents, or 2 percent, at $41.92 per barrel in New York. The contract lost 25 cents on Tuesday. Brent crude, used to price international oils, was down 81 cents, or 1.8 percent, at $44.18 per barrel in London.

BONDS AND CURRENCIES: Bond prices rose. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 1.52 percent from 1.55 late Tuesday. In currency markets, the dollar weakened to 101.33 yen from 101.90 on Tuesday, while the euro strengthened to $1.1169 from $1.1107.