Stocks Move Mostly Higher as Big Dividend Payers Jump

NEW YORK (AP) -
Trader Kevin Mancuso works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange on Friday. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
Trader Kevin Mancuso works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange on Friday. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

Stocks are mostly higher Friday thanks to gains for companies that pay large dividends. Real-estate and phone companies are rising. Banks are slipping after a huge rally over the last few weeks. Bond prices rose after a string of steep declines, sending yields lower. The Dow Jones Industrial Average, which closed at a record high a day ago, is down slightly.

KEEPING SCORE: The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 15 points, or 0.1 percent, to 19,176 as of 10:55 a.m. Eastern time. Goldman Sachs, which closed at a nine-year high Thursday, was responsible for the entire loss as it fell $2.80, or 1.2 percent, to $223.83. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index added 4 points, or 0.2 percent, to 2,195. The Nasdaq composite edged up 7 points, or 0.1 percent, to 5,258.

US JOBS DATA: U.S. employers added 178,000 jobs in November, as hiring remained steady. However, fewer people looked for work and hourly wages slipped. The results cemented market expectations that the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates later this month. A very weak jobs report would have been the last thing that might have stopped the Fed from raising rates.

BONDS: Bond prices, which have been falling sharply since the presidential election, rose in early trading. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 2.38 percent from 2.45 percent. That helped utility and real-estate companies, which are often compared to bonds because of their big dividend payments. When bond yields fall, those stocks become more appealing to investors seeking income. Public Storage rose $4.22, or 2 percent, to $212.08, and Exelon rose $1.09, or 3.4 percent, to $33.26.

BOWING OUT: Starbucks shares slid $1.50, or 2.6 percent, to $57.01 after the company said Howard Schultz will step down as CEO in April. He will remain chairman of the company, and Starbucks said he will focus on new ideas like high-end shops. President and Chief Operating Officer Kevin Johnson will become CEO. Schultz gave up the CEO title in 2000, and investors feel Starbucks struggled until he become CEO again in 2008.

BANKS: Charles Schwab declined 87 cents, or 2.2 percent, to $38.74, and Citigroup fell 73 cents, or 1.3 percent, to $56.54, as banks moved lower. The S&P 500 index of financial stocks is at its highest price since 2008, and it’s up 14 percent since the presidential election.

MISFIRE: Firearms maker Smith & Wesson gave up $2.27, or 9.4 percent, to $21.72 after its quarterly guidance disappointed investors.

RETAIL: Discount retailer Five Below jumped after it said it’s off to a strong start to the year-end shopping season. That helped the stock rebound from losses over the last week. It picked up $4.46, or 11.2 percent, to $44.34. Also rising was Ascena Retail, the parent of Ann Taylor, Maurices and Dressbarn: It gained $1.42, or 24.4 percent, to $7.25. Gap lost 25 cents, or 1 percent, to $24.80, and teen retailer Zumiez sank 48 cents, or 1.9 percent, to $24.08 after weak quarterly reports.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude added 33 cents to $51.39 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, the standard for pricing international oils, picked up 29 cents to $54.23 a barrel in London. Oil prices jumped 13 percent over the last two days after OPEC countries agreed to trim their production of the fuel.

CURRENCIES: The dollar fell to 113.68 yen from 114.04 yen. The euro rose to $1.0661 from $1.0645.

OVERSEAS: Germany’s DAX was down 0.3 percent, and the CAC-40 in France fell 0.7 percent. The FTSE 100 index in Britain was 0.4 percent lower. Japan’s Nikkei 225 index shed 0.5 percent, and South Korea’s Kospi lost 0.7 percent. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng retreated 1.4 percent.