U.S. Stock Indexes Slip Further, But Bond Yields Surge

NEW YORK (AP) -

U.S. stocks slipped for the third consecutive day Thursday as media and defense companies skidded. Bond yields climbed to their highest levels since May, which helped banks and hurt stocks that pay big dividends.

Stocks started the day higher and were flat at midday, then gradually slid through the afternoon.

Bond prices fell and yields climbed. That helped banks, since they’ll earn more from lending as interest rates rise. It also sent high-dividend stocks like utilities and real estate companies lower as bonds become more appealing to investors seeking income.

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 29.65 points, or 0.2 percent, to 18,169.68. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index sank 6.39 points, or 0.3 percent, to 2,133.04. The Nasdaq composite lost 34.29 points, or 0.7 percent, to 5,215.97.

U.S. government bond prices dropped. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note jumped to 1.85 percent from 1.79 percent a day earlier, its highest yield in almost five months.

Smartphone chipmaker Qualcomm said it will buy NXP for $38 billion, or $110 per share in cash. Qualcomm jumped $1.89, or 2.8 percent, to $70.09 and NXP rose 42 cents to $99.09. The deal has been rumored for about a month and investors were excited about the prospect. Qualcomm has climbed 10 percent and NXP is up 20 percent since it was first reported that the companies were in talks.

Phone companies Level 3 Communications and CenturyLink surged after the Wall Street Journal said the two companies are in talks to combine. CenturyLink soared $2.75, or 9.7 percent, to $31 and Level 3 climbed $4.95, or 10.5 percent, to $51.87. AT&T, Verizon and Frontier Communications also rose.

Newspaper publishers Gannett and Tronc, the company formerly known as Tribune Publishing, both slumped on reports they may not be able to combine. Bloomberg reported Thursday that banks financing the deal were not willing to help fund it. The report cited anonymous sources and said the companies were still talking. USA Today publisher Gannett dropped $1.69, or 17.1 percent, to $8.21 and Tronc fell $4.73, or 27.8 percent, to $8.21 in heavy trading.

Earnings continued to pour in after the closing bell. Amazon fell 4 percent in aftermarket trading after its profit fell short of analysts’ estimates, and Alphabet, the corporate parent of Google, rose 1 percent after it surpassed expectations.

Oil prices recovered after falling for three days in a row. U.S. benchmark crude rose 54 cents, or 1.1 percent, to $49.72 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, the international standard, added 49 cents, or 1 percent, to $50.47 a barrel in London.

The dollar rose to 105.30 yen from 104.54 yen. The euro dipped to $1.0896 from $1.0906.

Wholesale gasoline remained at $1.49 a gallon. Heating oil rose 2 cents to $1.57 a gallon. Natural gas added 3 cents to $2.76 per 1,000 cubic feet.

The price of gold rose $2.90 to $1,269.50 an ounce. Silver rose 1 cent to $17.64 an ounce. Copper picked up 2 cents to $2.16 a pound.

Germany’s DAX stock index picked up 0.1 percent and the FTSE 100 in Britain rose 0.4 percent. The French CAC 40 was little changed. Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 index slipped 0.3 percent while South Korea’s Kospi rose 0.5 percent and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng lost 0.8 percent.