U.S. Stock Indexes Close Lower on Thurs. as Market Snaps 3-Day Rally

(AP) —

A steep slide in traditional safe-play stocks such as phone companies and utilities weighed on Wall Street Thursday, snapping a three-day winning streak for the market.

The broad decline came as investors pored over company earnings for clues about the health of Corporate America and the trajectory of the U.S. economy. Oil prices also fell, extending losses for the battered energy sector.

“Today might be a little bit of profit-taking after such a big run here,” said Jeff Kravetz, regional investment strategist at U.S. Bank’s Private Client Reserve. “We did have a few companies that reported weaker-than-expected earnings.”

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 113.75 points, or 0.6 percent, to 17,982.52. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index shed 10.92 points, or 0.5 percent, to 2,091.48. The Nasdaq composite index lost 2.24 points, or 0.1 percent, to 4,945.89.

Many more companies are due to post their quarterly results in coming weeks. So far, though, traders have been quick to make moves on stocks, depending on whether the companies lived up to the market’s expectations.

“We’re still seeing a lot of companies struggling to meet that top line of revenue, and that’s the bigger story,” said JJ Kinahan, TD Ameritrade’s chief strategist.

Mattel fell 5.8 percent after the toy maker reported a larger-than-anticipated quarterly loss and disappointing sales of Barbie dolls. The stock shed $1.91 to $31.13.

Alliance Data Systems, which manages loyalty and rewards programs for retailers and other companies, slumped 7 percent after the company issued a disappointing outlook for the current quarter. The stock lost $15.32 at $202.60.

Casino operator Las Vegas Sands also failed to match Wall Street’s expectations. That sent the stock down $4.79, or 9.2 percent, to $47.39.

Investors bid up shares in companies that exceeded earnings forecasts.

Under Armour surged 6.8 percent after the athletic apparel company reported strong quarterly sales. It also increased its outlook for the year. The stock climbed $2.98 to $46.93.

General Motors rose 1.5 percent after the automaker said its profit more than doubled, thanks partly to strong demand in North America. The stock gained 47 cents to $32.66.

Citrix Systems climbed 4.4 percent a day after the company reported earnings that topped Wall Street expectations. The stock added $3.51 to $84.03.

Beyond earnings, traders sent shares in Viacom sharply higher on news that the company reached a new deal to have Dish Network continue to broadcast Viacom programming. Shares in Viacom added $5.18, or 13.9 percent, to $42.56.

American Airlines, General Electric and McDonald’s are among the companies reporting earnings on Friday.

Markets in Europe were mixed Thursday.

German’s DAX rose 0.1 percent, while France’s CAC 40 edged down 0.2 percent. Britain’s FTSE 100 fell 0.4 percent. Earlier in Asia, Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 ended 2.7 percent higher. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng climbed 1.8 percent. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 rose 1.1 percent. South Korea’s KOSPI added 0.8 percent.

Benchmark U.S. crude oil fell $1, or 2.3 percent, to close at $43.18 a barrel in New York after. Brent crude, the international standard, dropped $1.27, or 2.8 percent, to close at $44.53 a barrel in London.

In other energy trading, wholesale gasoline rose about a penny to close at $1.52 a gallon. Heating oil fell 3 cents, or 2.4 percent, close at $1.30 a gallon. Natural gas was little changed at $2.07 per 1,000 cubic feet.

Precious and industrial metals futures were mixed. Gold fell $4.10 to $1,250.30 an ounce, silver slid 5 cents to $17.09 an ounce and copper rose about a penny to $2.25 a pound.

Bond prices fell. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 1.86 percent from 1.84 percent late Wednesday.

In currency markets, the dollar slipped to 109.53 yen from 109.80 yen on Wednesday. The euro fell to $1.1295 from $1.1302.

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