U.S. Stocks Slip as Energy and Metals Prices Keep Falling


U.S. stocks are inching lower Tuesday, adding to sharp sell-offs last week. Utilities and telecommunications companies are rising, but energy and mining stocks continue to slump on fears that demand and prices will get worse.

KEEPING SCORE: The Dow Jones industrial average lost 40 points, or 0.3 percent, to 15,947 as of 2:15 p.m. Eastern. It was up as much as 183 points earlier. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index gave up 10 points, or 0.5 percent, to 1,870. The Nasdaq composite index fell 43 points, or 1 percent, to 4,445.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude fell $1.03, or 3.5 percent, to $28.39 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, a benchmark for international oils, rose 23 cents to $28.78 a barrel in London.

Energy stocks continued to fall on concerns about reduced worldwide demand. Chesapeake Energy lost 36 cents, or 10.1 percent, to $3.20. Marathon Oil fell 61 cents, or 7.5 percent, to $7.53.

METALS: The price of gold fell $1.60 to $1,089.10 an ounce. Silver rose 22.5 cents, or 1.6 percent, to $14.121 an ounce. Copper gained 3.4 cents, or 1.7 percent, to $1.978 a pound. Gold miner Newmont Mining lost $1.36, or 7.7 percent, to $16.34 and copper producer Freeport-McMoRan gave up 32 cents, or 7.5 percent, to $4.03.

TOUGH YEAR: The first two weeks of this year were the worst start to a year in the history of the Dow and the S&P 500. Stocks have been hammered by concerns about the slowing Chinese economy, which is the second-largest in the world and an important contributor to global growth.

GAINERS: Utilities and telecommunications stocks traded higher. AT&T added 35 cents, or 1 percent, to $34.34 and NextEra Energy gained $1.99, or 1.9 percent, to $107.25. Consumer goods maker Procter & Gamble gained $1.35, or 1.8 percent, to $76.33 and Mondelez added $1.02, or 2.5 percent, to $41.34.

TIFFANY TUMBLES: Jewelry retailer Tiffany fell after it said sales dropped in the fourth quarter. The company also forecast minimal growth in 2016. The stock lost $3.40, or 5 percent, to $64.25.

EARNINGS: Delta Air Lines reported a bigger fourth-quarter profit because of falling fuel prices. Delta expects fuel to be even less expensive in the first quarter. Its shares rose $1.12, or 2.5 percent, to $45.62. Health insurer UnitedHealth Group posted stronger-than-expected results in the fourth quarter. Its stock rose $2.94, or 2.7 percent, to $112.21.

Netflix, which was the biggest gainer on the S&P 500 in 2015, rose $4.06, or 3.9 percent, to $108.11. Netflix will report its fourth-quarter results after the market closes.

IPOS A NO-GO: So far not a single U.S. company has gone public this year, according to Kathy Smith of Renaissance Capital, a manager of IPO-focused exchange-traded funds. That should change this week, as Elevate Capital, which offers credit and related services to people with below-average credit, is expected to start trading Friday. But Smith said only two companies will go public this month. There were also just two IPOs in December, the fewest in any month since October 2011.

“The IPO market is pretty close to being closed,” Smith said.

Companies are reluctant to go public when the market is weak, and the companies that did go public last year weren’t rewarded for it: Smith says the companies that completed their IPOs in 2015 are down an average of 17 percent from their offering prices.

OVERSEAS: European and Asian stocks rallied after China’s quarterly economic growth met expectations. That calmed investors who thought conditions might get worse. Still, the Chinese government reported that annual growth hit a 25-year low in 2015.

France’s CAC 40 rose 2 percent and Germany’s DAX added 1.5 percent. Britain’s FTSE 100 gained 1.7 percent. China’s Shanghai Composite surged 3.2 percent and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng gained 2.1 percent. Japan’s Nikkei 225 inched up 0.5 percent.

CURRENCIES: The U.S. dollar slipped to 117.49 yen from 117.50 yen on Monday. The euro rose to $1.0925 from $1.0885. Bond prices rose. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note, which has slumped this year, declined to 2.03 percent from at 2.04 percent.