U.S. Indexes Turn Higher, Helped by Phone-Company Stocks

NEW YORK (AP) -
(AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)
(AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)

Stocks turned slightly higher in mid-afternoon trading Tuesday, helped by shares of telecommunications companies such as Verizon and AT&T, while the rest of the market remained mostly flat. The upturn put the Dow Jones industrial average on track for another record high close.

KEEPING SCORE: The Dow rose 17 points, or 0.1 percent, to 19,234 as of 2 p.m. Eastern. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index rose five points, or 0.2 percent, to 2,209 and the Nasdaq composite rose 13 points, or 0.2 percent, to 5,321. Small-company stocks again outpaced the rest of the market. The Russell 2000 climbed 11 points, or 0.8 percent, to 1,349, putting that index on track for a record high close.

ENERGY: A rally in oil prices petered out after four days of gains driven by OPEC’s deal to cut production next year. Benchmark U.S. crude fell $1.05 to $50.74 in New York. Brent crude, the international standard, shed 95 cents to $53.99 a barrel in London. While oil prices were solidly lower, energy companies were trading mostly flat to only slightly lower.

CAN YOU HEAR ME NOW?: Telecommunications stocks were among the biggest gainers. Verizon climbed 67 cents, or 1.4 percent, to $50.43 and AT&T rose 68 cents, or 1.8 percent, to $39.32.

AT&T was up on reports that its newly launched DirectTV Now service was attracting more subscribers than anticipated, while Verizon shares rose as the company sold a group of data centers for $3.6 billion.

STARVING: Chipotle Mexican Grill fell $29.00, or 7.3 percent, to $367.64 after the company’s CEO said he was “nervous” about hitting full-year forecasts and that the company’s turnaround is going slower than expected. Chipotle has struggled since an E. coli outbreak last year caused customers to eat elsewhere.

JUST (DON’T) DO IT: Nike shares fell $1.32, or 2.5 percent, to $50.53, the biggest decliner in the Dow, after analysts downgraded their outlook on the stock.

AIR TRUMP ONE: Boeing slipped 19 cents, or 0.1 percent, to $151.98 after President-elect Donald Trump said he believed the U.S. government should cancel its order for a new Air Force One plane, claiming the project is too expensive. The Air Force has not contracted out the new Air Force One plane, due in 2021, yet. However, Boeing does have a $170 million viability contract with the Air Force to determine the capabilities of the next version of Air Force One. Boeing shares had been down as much as 1 percent earlier in the day.

EUROPE: Italy’s stock market jumped 4.2 percent, a day after slipping in the wake of the failure of a constitutional referendum that forced the resignation of that country’s premier. France’s CAC 40 added 1.3 percent, Britain’s FTSE 100 was up 0.5 percent and Germany’s DAX rose 0.8 percent.

BONDS AND CURRENCIES: U.S. government bond prices rose slightly. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 2.39 percent from 2.40 percent late Monday. In foreign exchange trading, the dollar rose to 114.01 yen from 113.75 yen. The euro fell to $1.0704 from $1.0770.