Phone companies led U.S. stock indexes modestly higher in afternoon trading Thursday, a day after the market posted its biggest loss in eight months. Materials and energy stocks fell. Wal-Mart Stores rose after delivering better results than analysts were expecting.
KEEPING SCORE: The Standard & Poor’s 500 index rose 10 points, or 0.4 percent, to 2,367 as of 1:56 p.m. Eastern Time. The Dow Jones industrial average added 57 points, or 0.3 percent, to 20,663. The Nasdaq composite index gained 43 points, or 0.7 percent, to 6,054. The Russell 2000 index of smaller stocks was up 5 points, or 0.4 percent, to 1,361.
EYES ON WASHINGTON: The stock market was coming off its worst day since September. The slide, which extended to many major indexes overnight in Asia and Europe, was triggered by growing worries that deepening political tumult in Washington will hinder President Donald Trump’s plans to enact tax cuts, infrastructure spending and other business-friendly policies.
BIG BEAT: Wal-Mart Stores rose 2.8 percent after the world’s largest retailer’s latest quarterly results beat Wall Street’s forecasts. The company also noted that its customer traffic rose in the quarter, unlike other major retailers like Macy’s and Target. Wal-Mart’s shares added $2.10 to $77.22.
PROMISING: Incyte surged 6.9 percent on growing analyst optimism over the company’s work developing cancer treatments. The stock gained $8.29 to $128.78.
DISAPPOINTING RESULTS: Ascena Retail Group sank 28.9 percent after the retailer cut its forecast for its fiscal third quarter and full year, citing lagging customer traffic and other challenges. The stock lost 81 cents to $2.01.
IN A SLUMP: Cisco Systems fell 8.1 percent a day after the internet gear maker said it expects revenue in its fiscal third quarter to be down from a year earlier. The company also said it was laying off 1,100 workers in addition to the 5,500 job cuts Cisco announced last August. The stock gave up $2.73 to $31.09.
ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude oil futures rose 29 cents, or 0.6 percent, at $49.36 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, climbed 34 cents, or 0.7 percent, at $52.55 a barrel in London.
CURRENCIES: The euro slipped to $1.1111 from $1.1153 on Wednesday. The dollar weakened to 111.16 yen from 111.17 yen.
TREASURY YIELDS: Bond prices slipped. The 10-year Treasury yield rose to 2.23 percent from 2.22 percent.
MARKETS OVERSEAS: In Europe, Germany’s DAX was down 0.3 percent, while France’s CAC 40 was 0.5 percent lower. The FTSE 100 index of leading British shares was down 0.9 percent. In Asia, Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 index slid 1.3 percent. South Korea’s Kospi lost 0.3 percent. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng shed 0.6 percent.