U.S. Stocks Are Mixed as Energy and Auto Parts Companies Slide

The New York Stock Exchange. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)

U.S. stocks are slipping Wednesday as oil prices turn lower and energy companies fall with them. Auto parts makers and car companies are skidding after O’Reilly Automotive disclosed weak sales in the second quarter, and smaller, domestically-oriented companies are skidding. However major stock indexes are higher as technology companies, health care firms and banks make gains.

KEEPING SCORE: The Standard & Poor’s 500 index added 5 points, or 0.2 percent, to 2,434 as of 1:35 p.m. Eastern time. The Dow Jones industrial average picked up 5 points to 21,484. The Nasdaq composite rose 44 points, or 0.7 percent, to 6,154 as technology companies climbed.

The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks sank 7 points, or 0.5 percent, to 1,419. Almost two-thirds of the stocks on the New York Stock Exchange were lower.

U.S. markets were closed Tuesday for the Independence Day holiday.

SIGN ON THE DOTTED LINE: Payment processor Vantiv will buy the U.K.’s Worldpay for about $10 billion. Worldpay allows businesses to accept credit cards and online payments, and it said Tuesday it was talking to Vantiv and JPMorgan about potential deals. It released a statement Wednesday saying the companies agreed on the key terms of an acquisition. Vantiv stock retreated $1.45, or 2.3 percent, to $61.06.

Monogram Residential, which owns and operates luxury apartment communities, climbed after it agreed to be bought by real estate company Greystar and a group of investors. The deal values Monogram at $12 a share, or about $2 billion, and also includes about $1 billion in debt. Monogram stock added $2.14, or 21.8 percent, to $11.94.

FALSE START: Auto parts maker O’Reilly Automotive said sales at its older locations fell over the last three months because of weak demand and the effects of a mild winter. The company had expected sales to improve in the second quarter, and Wall Street analysts had forecast growth as well. O’Reilly stock lost $41.53, or 18.8 percent, to $178.89.

The three biggest losers on the S&P 500 were all auto parts companies. Advance Auto Parts gave up $13.67, or 11.5 percent, to $104.74; and AutoZone slid $48.83, or 8.5 percent, to $522.88. Those three companies have each plunged more than 30 percent this year as investors worry about the effects of slowing car sales.

Car companies also fell, as Ford declined 25 cents, or 2.2 percent, to $11.31; while General Motors sagged 53 cents, or 1.5 percent, to $35.04. Automakers had rallied Monday after they reported their monthly sales.

Tesla lost $14.43, or 4.1 percent, to $338.19 as investors were disappointed with the company’s second-quarter production and delivery totals.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude dropped $1.80, or 3.8 percent, to 45.27 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, sank $1.64, or 3.3 percent, to $47.97 a barrel in London. U.S. crude reached an annual low in late June, and then jumped 11 percent over the next eight trading days.

Hess fell $1.88, or 4.1 percent, to $43.54; and Exxon Mobil shed $1.34, or 1.6 percent, to $80.76.

TECH RELIEF: Technology companies did relatively well, although they have taken sharp losses over the last month. Chinese e-commerce company Baidu rose $5.62, or 3.1 percent, to $185.59; and chipmaker Nvidia gained $4.18, or 3 percent, to $143.51. The companies said they will work together on a group of projects intended to bring artificial intelligence technology to cloud competing, autonomous cars and home assistants.

Elsewhere, chipmaker Advanced Micro Devices jumped 91 cents, or 7.5 percent, to $13.06; and payment processor PayPal climbed $1.68, or 3.2 percent, to $54.55.

NORTH KOREAN MISSILE: Investors weren’t much troubled by North Korea’s first successful test of an intercontinental ballistic missile. The VIX, Wall Street’s “fear gauge,” wavered as the U.S. and ally South Korea responded to the test by firing precision missiles into South Korean waters, and the United Nations Security Council was set to hold an emergency meeting.

BONDS: Bond prices edged higher. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note dipped to 2.33 percent from 2.35 percent late Monday.

CURRENCIES: The dollar declined to 113.23 yen from 113.39 yen. The euro fell to $1.1338 from $1.1358.

OVERSEAS: The CAC 40 of France, the DAX in Germany and Britain’s FTSE 100 each rose 0.1 percent. Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 index gained 0.3 percent while the Kospi in South Korea added 0.3 percent. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng rose 0.5 percent.

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