A three-day winning streak for U.S. stocks ended quietly Thursday. A decline in bond yields sent bank stocks lower, while utilities and phone companies moved higher.
Stocks traded lower all day as investors took some profits. Banks took the biggest losses, followed by metals companies. With bond yields down, investors snapped up phone and utility company shares. Household goods makers turned higher late in the day, but that wasn’t enough to cancel out losses elsewhere.
The& Dow& Jones industrial average slid 19.86 points, or 0.1 percent, to 17,985.19. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index lost 3.64 points, or 0.2 percent, to 2,115.48. The Nasdaq composite declined 16.03 points, or 0.3 percent, to 4,958.62.
Stocks are still up for the week. Over the last few days the S&P 500 has reached its highest levels since last July. Oil prices have done the same.
Bond prices rose, sending the yield on the 10-year U.S. Treasury note down to 1.68 percent from 1.70 percent a day earlier. Lower bond yields drive down interest rates on mortgages and other kinds of loans, making them less profitable for banks.
Mortgage agency Freddie Mac reported that mortgage rates fell this week after three weeks of increases. Freddie Mac said the average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage slipped to 3.60 percent from 3.66 percent last week. A year ago the rate was 4.04 percent.
Bank of America gave up 24 cents, or 1.7 percent, to $14.19 and Capital One fell $1.23, or 1.7 percent, to $70.87.
Utilities and phone company stocks made modest gains as bond yields fell. Those stocks are seen as similar to bonds because they pay large dividends, so low bond yields make them more appealing by comparison. Ameren advanced $1.21, or 2.4 percent, to $50.89 and PG&E picked up 97 cents, or 1.6 percent, to $62.98. AT&T added 23 cents to $40.09.
Jam and spreads maker J.M. Smucker climbed after it reported strong fourth-quarter sales of coffee products and pet foods. The company also gave an optimistic profit forecast for the current fiscal year. Its stock jumped $10.52, or 7.9 percent, to $143.23.
Other consumer goods makers followed Smucker’s lead late in the day. Tyson Foods rose $1.52, or 2.5 percent, to $61.28 and Kellogg picked up $1.61, or 2.1 percent, to $77.69.
U.S. crude shed 67 cents, or 1.3 percent, to $50.56 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, the benchmark for international oil prices, fell 56 cents, or 1.1 percent, to $51.95 a barrel in London.
Gold rose $10.40, or 0.8 percent, to $1,272.70 an ounce. Silver added 28 cents to $17.27 an ounce. Copper fell 2 cents to $2.04 a pound.
In other energy trading, wholesale gasoline was unchanged at $1.62 a gallon. Heating oil fell 2 cents to $1.55 a gallon. Natural gas jumped 15 cents to $2.62 per 1,000 cubic feet.
European stock indexes skidded after European Central Bank President Mario Draghi warned that national governments need to make more reforms to get the regional economy going. Draghi said the central bank can’t fix the economy on its own. Germany’s DAX fell 1.3 percent and Britain’s FTSE 100 slid 1.1 percent. France’s CAC 40 lost 1 percent.
Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 shed 1 percent after the government reported that domestic and foreign private machinery orders fell in April from the month before, which suggests capital investment remains weak. South Korea’s KOSPI was 0.1 percent lower.
The dollar fell to 106.75 yen from 106.94 yen on Wednesday. The euro dropped to $1.1327 from $1.1397.