Phone and utilities companies led U.S. stock indexes lower in afternoon trading Tuesday as investors sized up the latest company and economic news. Banks led the gainers. Energy stocks also rose as crude oil prices headed higher. Several homebuilders were up following new data on home prices.
KEEPING SCORE: The Standard & Poor’s 500 index was down 4 points, or 0.2 percent, to 2,434 as of 1 p.m. Eastern time. The Dow Jones industrial average slid 10 points, or 0.1 percent, to 21,399. The Nasdaq composite lost 43 points, or 0.7 percent, to 6,204. The Russell 2000 of small-company stocks picked up less than 1 point to 1,417.
HOUSING BOOST: A key U.S. housing market index shows home prices climbed 5.7 percent nationwide in April. The latest gain in the S&P’s CoreLogic Case-Shiller 20-city home price index follows increases of 5.9 percent in March and February. Those gains were the highest in nearly three years. Homebuilder shares were mostly higher after the release of the index. Hovnanian Enterprises led the gainers, adding 7 cents, or 2.9 percent, to $2.52.
APPETIZING RESULTS: Darden Restaurants rose 3.6 percent after the owner of Olive Garden and other chain restaurants reported earnings that were better than analysts expected. The stock added $3.25 to $93.33.
DIALING A DEAL: Sprint climbed 5.4 percent following a published report suggesting the mobile phone company is in talks with Charter Communications and Comcast Corp. on a deal that could enable the cable operators to buy a stake in Sprint. Sprint gained 43 cents to $8.44. Comcast slid 22 cents, or 0.5 percent, to $39.38, while Charter lost $1.73, or 0.5 percent, to $330.92.
UPGRADED: J.C. Penney gained 4.7 percent after an analyst upgraded the stock to hold from sell, saying the struggling retailer should be able to meet its sales target for the year. Penney shares rose 22 cents to $4.89.
NEW MONEY MAN: Shares in Kohl’s were up 3.3 percent after the retailer announced it has appointed Bruce Besanko as chief financial officer. Besanko had held the same role at Supervalu. Kohl’s added $1.23 to $38.75.
FINED: Alphabet, Google’s parent company, slid 1.3 percent after the European Union slapped the online search giant with a $2.7-billion fine. The EU alleges that the company breached antitrust rules with its online shopping service. Alphabet said it is considering an appeal. Alphabet shares fell $12.39 to $959.70.
OIL: Benchmark U.S. crude was up 80 cents, or 1.8 percent, to $44.18 per barrel in New York. Brent, the international standard, was up 82 cents, or 1.8 percent, to $46.86 per barrel in London.
BOND YIELDS: Bond prices fell. The 10-year Treasury yield rose to 2.20 percent from 2.13 percent late Monday.
CURRENCIES: The dollar rose to 112.30 yen from 111.89 yen late Monday. The euro strengthened to $1.1309 from $1.1181.
MARKETS ABROAD: European stock markets headed lower as the euro surged after European Central Bank President Mario Draghi’s latest remarks displayed optimism over the future of the economy in the 19-country Eurozone. Germany’s DAX was down 0.8 percent, while France’s CAC 40 was 0.7 percent lower. The FTSE 100 of leading British shares was down 0.2 percent. Major indexes in Asia were mixed. Japan’s Nikkei 225 rose 0.4 percent, while South Korea’s Kospi added 0.1 percent. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index edged 0.1 percent lower.