U.S. Stocks Head Lower as Health-Care Companies Plunge

NEW YORK (AP) -
stocks
(AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)

U.S. stocks are falling Friday as health-care companies skid and energy companies also head lower. Media companies are rising after quarterly reports from Disney and News Corp., and J.C. Penney is leading retailers higher. Stocks have risen for eight weeks in a row, their longest run in almost four years, but that streak is on track to end.

KEEPING SCORE: The Standard & Poor’s 500 index lost 5 points, or 0.2 percent, to 2,579 as of 11:45 a.m. Eastern time. The Dow Jones Industrial Average slid 34 points, or 0.2 percent, to 23,416. The Nasdaq composite gave up 7 points, or 0.1 percent, to 6,742. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks added 3 points, or 0.2 percent, to 1,478.

The S&P 500 set an all-time high as recently as Wednesday, but it’s down 0.3 percent this week. The index climbed 5 percent over a winning streak that covered the previous eight weeks.

TAKEN ILL: Health-care companies have been falling since late October. On Friday, medical-device maker Medtronic slid $1.90, or 2.4 percent, to $78.91, and drugmaker AbbVie lost $1.95, or 2 percent, to $93.94. Baxter International fell $.191, or 2.9 percent, to $63.48.

Among technology companies, which have soared this year, video-gamer maker Activision Blizzard dipped 72 cents, or 1.1 percent, to $62.59, and network-equipment maker Juniper Networks fell 49 cents, or 1.9 percent, to $24.86. Chipmaker Intel sank 80 cents, or 1.7 percent, to $45.50.

RETAIL ROCKETING: J.C. Penney leaped 41 cents, or 14.9 percent, to $3.16 after it said a closely watched sales measurement grew for the first time in more than a year. The company also took a smaller quarterly loss than analysts had expected. The stock is still down 60 percent this year. Elsewhere, Macy’s built on its jump a day ago and added another 57 cents, or 2.9 percent, to $20.07. Competitor Kohl’s rose $1.54, or 3.7 percent, to $42.71.

LOW ENERGY: Energy companies traded sharply lower. Schlumberger declined $1.39, or 2.1 percent, to $65.50, and Apache skidded 76 cents, or 1.7 percent, to $44.48. The stocks have done well in recent months as oil prices have moved higher. U.S. crude is trading at its highest price since the middle of 2015.

U.S. crude oil was unchanged at $57.17 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, rose 8 cents to $64.01 a barrel in London.

SPORTS SPURS DISNEY: Walt Disney rose $2.52, or 2.5 percent, to $105.20. The entertainment giant said it received bigger payments from cable companies for ESPN and offered more details about its planned sports-streaming services.

GOOD NEWS: News Corp jumped $1.35, or 9.4 percent, to $15.71 after the publisher of The Wall Street Journal and the New York Post reported a bigger profit and more revenue than analysts had expected.

CHIPPED IN: Graphics chip maker Nvidia had another strong quarter and Wall Street was pleased with results from the company’s data-center business. The stock jumped $12.34, or 6 percent, to $217.66. The stock has doubled in value this year after tripling in 2016.

BONDS: Bond prices slumped. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 2.38 percent from 2.34 percent.

CURRENCIES: The dollar slipped to 113.21 yen from 113.32 yen. The euro rose to $1.1654 from $1.1643.

OVERSEAS: The FTSE 100 index in Britain fell 0.7 percent. The French CAC 40 and the German DAX both dipped 0.5 percent. Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 index lost 0.8 percent, and South Korea’s Kospi fell 0.3 percent. In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng dipped less than 0.1 percent.