U.S. Stock Indexes Slip Again in Slow Trading


U.S. stocks are mixed Friday as trading remains quiet heading into the holiday weekend. Major indexes are slightly lower. Consumer-focused companies like retailers are falling again and health-care stocks are making small gains.

KEEPING SCORE: The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 12 points, or less than 0.1 percent, to 19,906 as of 11:50 a.m. Eastern time. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index remained at 2,260. The Nasdaq composite lost less than 1 point to 5,446. On the New York Stock Exchange, more companies rose than fell.

Stocks have fallen the last two days, their first losing streak in December. The blue-chip Dow average hadn’t had a two-day losing streak since Nov. 4, the end of a seven-day skid just before the presidential election. Major indexes are higher this week, and the Dow is closing in on its seventh consecutive weekly gain.

GROUNDED? Lockheed Martin skidded after coming under renewed criticism on Twitter by President-elect Donald Trump. Trump said Lockheed’s F-35 fighter jet costs too much and that he has asked Boeing to “price-out” a comparable F-18 jet. Trump complained earlier this month about the costs of the F-35, which made up about 20 percent of Lockheed’s revenue last year. He also criticized Boeing for the cost of the next Air Force One. Lockheed gave up $4.41, or 1.7 percent, to $238.39.

THE QUOTE: “This is a negotiating tactic,” said Josh Sullivan, a Seaport Global analyst who covers aerospace and defense companies. “You’re seeing the negative portion of the negotiation in public where privately they may be more constructive.”

Sullivan said that Trump’s tweets are a new type of bad publicity for defense companies, but that even if the President-elect periodically criticizes the companies in public, investors are still optimistic about their prospects. If Trump builds up the U.S. nuclear arsenal, as he proposed doing in a tweet Thursday, that would also involve more military spending.

“Ultimately, (Trump) ran on a strong defense-spending platform,” he said. Defense stocks have done better than the rest of the market overall since the election.

TRUMP UNCERTAINTY: Thus far, investor optimism that Trump’s spending proposals could boost economic growth is outweighing any concerns about his brash style and Twitter pronouncements, which have moved company stocks at times. That may change when he’s in office and can more easily back up his comments with policy shifts.

OUT OF UNIFORM: Cintas, a uniform-rental company, slipped after its second-quarter profit fell short of Wall Street’s forecasts. Analysts said its first-aid business, which sells products like first-aid kits, eyewash stations and emergency cabinets, had a disappointing quarter. The stock lost $4.59, or 3.8 percent, to $115.50.

BANK PROBES: Deutsche Bank agreed to pay the U.S. government $7.2 billion and Credit Suisse will pay $5.3 billion to settle civil claims over mortgage-backed securities they sold. The companies’ deal with the Justice Department isn’t final, but it includes both a fine and compensation for borrowers. Deutsche Bank rose 10 cents to $18.64 and Credit Suisse lost 10 cents to $14.83.

RETAIL SLIPPING: Retailers continued their recent slump. Online giant Amazon fell $7.09 to $759.25, and electronics retailer Best Buy lost 54 cents, or 1.2 percent, to $44.56.

HEALTH-CARE STOCKS HEALING: Drug companies made small gains on Friday. Botox maker Allergan rose $4.02, or 2.1 percent, to $198.01. Bristol-Myers Squibb picked up 72 cents, or 1.2 percent, to $59.48, and health insurer Aetna added $1.13 to $125.82.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude rose 1 cent to $52.96 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, the international standard, added 9 cents to $55.14 a barrel in London.

CURRENCY: The dollar slid to 117.22 yen from 117.60 yen. The euro rose to $1.0450 from $1.0433.

BONDS: Bond prices rose. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 2.54 percent from 2.55 percent.

ASIA’S DAY: Britain’s FTSE 100 rose 0.1 percent and France’s CAC-40 gained less than 0.1 percent. In Germany, the DAX lost 0.1 percent. The Hang Seng of Hong Kong retreated 0.3 percent and the Kospi in South Korea finished slightly lower. Japanese markets were closed for a holiday.

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