S&P 500, Dow Nudge Down a Bit Further From Records

NEW YORK (AP) -
Trader Peter Tuchman on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange on Friday. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

U.S. stock indexes took a modest step back Thursday, though they remain close to their record highs. Energy stocks fell more than the rest of the market, and bond yields eased.

KEEPING SCORE: The Standard & Poor’s 500 index fell 4 points, or 0.2 percent, to 2,343, as of 11:15 a.m. Eastern time. It’s on pace for its second straight decline after setting a record high Wednesday.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 51 points, or 0.2 percent, to 20,569 after hitting an all-time high Thursday. It’s on pace for its first drop in seven days. The Nasdaq composite dipped 1 point, or less than 0.1 percent, to 5,814. Roughly two stocks fell for every one that rose on the New York Stock Exchange.

HITTING THE PAUSE BUTTON: The last two lackadaisical days for stocks follow a strong run, in which stocks climbed quickly for weeks on stronger-than-expected reports on the economy and corporate earnings. Hopes for lower taxes and other business-friendly policies from Washington provided another big push.

Even with Friday’s decline, the S&P 500 is still on track for its fourth weekly gain in a row.

DROPPING YIELDS: The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 2.41 percent from 2.45 percent late Thursday. The two-year yield dipped to 1.18 percent from 1.21 percent, and the 30-year Treasury yield sank to 3.03 percent from 3.05 percent.

BACK TO THE KITCHEN: Kraft Heinz surged after it made an offer to buy European consumer-goods giant Unilever, only to get rejected. Unilever said the bid was too low. It offered 18 percent more than where Unilever’s shares closed on Thursday. Kraft Heinz, which is behind the Kraft and Oscar Mayer brands, jumped $6.64, or 7.6 percent, to $93.92. U.S.-listed shares of Unilever, which sells Breyers ice cream, Dove soap and Q-tips, surged $4.52, or 10.6 percent, to $47.09.

CAN OF WORMS: Campbell Soup had the biggest drop in the S&P 500 after the company reported weaker revenue in its latest quarter than a year earlier. Its earnings were better than Wall Street had forecast, however. Shares fell $4.06, or 6.5 percent, to $58.49.

JAMMED UP: J.M. Smucker fell after it lowered its forecast for sales this year. It reported earnings for the latest quarter that met expectations. The company, whose brands include Folgers and Crisco, fell $5.65, or 4.1 percent, to $132.19.

MORE CLOUDS AHEAD: General Mills also warned of tougher times ahead. It said that weaker-than-expected sales for its yogurt and soup brands pushed it to cut its sales and profit forecast for its fiscal year, which ends in May. Its stock fell $1.79, or 2.9 percent, to $59.75.

AROUND THE WORLD: In Europe, the French CAC 40 index fell 0.8 percent, Germany’s DAX index lost 0.1 percent and the U.K. FTSE 100 rose 0.2 percent. In Asia, Japan’s Nikkei 225 index fell 0.6 percent, the Hang Seng in Hong Kong fell 0.3 percent and South Korea’s Kospi index slipped 0.1 percent.

CURRENCIES: The dollar fell to 112.78 Japanese yen from 113.11 yen late Thursday. The euro fell to $1.0644 from $1.0677, and the British pound fell to $1.2430 from $1.2497.

COMMODITIES: Benchmark U.S. crude oil fell 33 cents to $53.42 per barrel. Brent crude, the international standard, fell 21 cents to $55.44per barrel. Gold fell $2.80 to $1,238.80 per ounce, silver fell 7 cents to $18.00 per ounce and copper fell 2 cents to $2.70 per pound.