U.S. Stock Indexes Close Slightly Lower; Oil Prices Slide


Energy companies led U.S. stock indexes slightly lower Monday as the price of crude oil fell.

Real estate, phone companies and other high-dividend stocks did better than the rest of the market as bond yields headed lower, making those sectors more appealing to investors seeking income.

Investors focused on the latest batch of company earnings and deal news. They also had their eye on Washington, where President Donald Trump reaffirmed plans to slash regulations on businesses and tax foreign goods entering the country.

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 27.40 points, or 0.1 percent, to 19,799.85. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index slid 6.11 points, or 0.3 percent, to 2,265.20. The Nasdaq composite index lost 2.39 points, or 0.04 percent, to 5,552.94. The Russell 2000, which tracks smaller companies, gave up 4.01 points, or 0.3 percent, to 1,347.84.

The major stock indexes were down slightly early Monday and veered little throughout the day as investors sized up company news and developments out of Washington.

Companies that issued results or outlooks that fell short of Wall Street’s forecasts put traders in a selling mood.

McDonald’s fell 0.7 percent after the world’s biggest hamburger chain reported a fourth-quarter drop in sales at established U.S. locations. The stock shed 88 cents to $121.38.

Kate Spade climbed 3.6 percent after Bloomberg News reported that the handbag maker has attracted takeover interest from Coach, Michael Kors and international companies.

The slide in crude prices weighed on the energy sector, which fell 1.1 percent. Oil and gas rig operator Transocean slumped 55 cents, or 3.6 percent, to $14.76.

Benchmark U.S. crude fell 47 cents, or 0.9 percent, to close at $52.75 per barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, slid 26 cents, or 0.5 percent, to close at $55.23 per barrel in London.

Major global stock markets mostly fell amid concerns that the Trump administration will pursue trade protectionism policies.

Germany’s DAX slid 0.7 percent, while France’s CAC-40 fell 0.6 percent. London’s FTSE 100 gave up 0.7 percent.

In Asia, a report showed that China’s economic growth ticked up in the final quarter of 2016, but the full-year expansion was the weakest in three decades. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng was unchanged. Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 fell 1.3 percent.

The 10-year Treasury yield slid to 2.40 percent from 2.47 percent late Friday. Yields had generally been climbing since Election Day on expectations that a Trump administration would spur more inflation and economic growth.

In currency markets, the dollar declined to 113 yen from 114.31 yen Friday. The euro rose to $1.0746 from $1.0707.

Among metals, the price of gold gained $10.70, or 0.9 percent, to $1,215.60 an ounce. Silver added 15 cents, or 0.9 percent, to $17.19 an ounce. Copper rose 2 cents to $2.65 a pound.

In other energy trading, wholesale gasoline was little changed at $1.57 a gallon, while heating oil slipped 2 cents to $1.63 a gallon. Natural gas futures rose 4 cents, or 1.2 percent, to $3.24 per 1,000 cubic feet.

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