Losses for Technology and Banks Take U.S. Stocks Lower

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(AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)

U.S. stocks are slipping Thursday as banks and technology companies fall, while a solid quarter from cereal maker Kellogg helped makers of food and household goods move higher. Health care stocks are a mixed bag as insurers continue to rise while other companies including generic drug maker Teva and prescription drug distributor AmerisourceBergen take steep losses.

KEEPING SCORE: The Standard & Poor’s 500 index dropped 5 points, or 0.2 percent, to 2,472 as of 11:55 a.m. Eastern time. The Dow Jones industrial average added 4 points, or less than 0.1 percent, to 22,020. The 30-company index has risen for seven consecutive days, setting records over that time and closing above 22,000 for the first time on Wednesday. The Nasdaq composite lost 16 points, or 0.3 percent, to 6,346. The Russell 2000 sank 2 points, or 0.2 percent, to 1,410 after a sharp loss a day ago.

TECH TAKES A TURN: Security software maker Symantec announced disappointing first-quarter sales, and its forecasts for the rest of the year weren’t as good as analysts had hoped. Symantec also said it will sell its website security business to DigiCert for $950 million in cash and a 30 percent stake in DigiCert. Symantec slid 40 cents, or 1.3 percent, to $30.51.

3D printer maker 3D Systems plunged $3.12, or 18.3 percent, to $13.89 after it fell short of Wall Street estimates in the second quarter and cut its projections for the full year. Elsewhere, Automatic Data Processing gave up $3.34, or 2.9 percent, to $111.91.

THEY’RE GRRREAT!: Kellogg – the maker of cereals like Frosted Flakes and Corn Flakes – reported another quarterly decline in sales as revenue from breakfast items slipped and snack food sales were flat. But the results weren’t as bad as experts had expected. Its stock jumped $3.32, or 4.9 percent, to $70.76.

Consumer products maker Clorox also rose after it disclosed a larger-than-expected profit. It rose $4.16, or 3.2 percent, to $136.13.

GENERIC DRUG WOES: AmerisourceBergen slumped $9.95, or 10.9 percent, to $81.32 after it said it expects slower revenue growth this year. Prescription drug distributors have struggled lately as the prices of generic drugs fall, and rival Cardinal Health lost 8.2 percent Wednesday after its quarterly report.

Teva Pharmaceutical Industries, the largest manufacturer of generic drugs, also tumbled. The company slashed its outlook as falling prices and growing competition hurt its results in the U.S. The stock dropped $6.57, or 21 percent, to $24.68.

ANOTHER INSURANCE WIN: Aetna raised its 2017 estimates again, and shares of the third-largest U.S. health insurer climbed $3.05, or 2 percent, to $157.79. Aetna gained some Medicare customers, and its employers-sponsored health coverage business improved — a pullback from the Affordable Care Act’s health insurance exchanges. Rival Humana climbed 4.5 percent Wednesday after a strong quarter.

ELECTRIFYING: Electric car maker Tesla said it’s confident it can meet its production goals for its new Model 3 sedan, which will cost less than its previous cars. The company also took a smaller net loss than investors expected. Its shares gained $21.05, or 6.5 percent, to $346.94.

AVON CALLING… FOR HELP: Avon Products took a loss in its latest quarter and said sales weren’t as good as expected. The cosmetics retailer has been struggling for years to revive its business, and it said Thursday that CEO Cheri McCoy will leave the company. Activist investors have put pressure on Avon to find new leadership. The stock lost 31 cents, or 9.2 percent, to $3.05.

BRITISH CAUTION: The British FTSE 100 gained 0.9 percent as investors felt the Bank of England isn’t likely to raise interest rates anytime soon. The British central bank left its key rate at a record low and cut its growth forecasts for the country. That also sent the pound lower.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude rose 22 cents to $49.81 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, the international standard, added 47 cents to $52.82 a barrel in London.

BOND: Bond prices moved higher. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 2.24 percent from 2.27 percent.

CURRENCIES: The dollar fell to 110.09 yen from 110.61 yen. The euro rose to $1.1882 from $1.1860.

STOCKS OVERSEAS: In France, the CAC 40 rose 0.6 percent, and the DAX in Germany lost 0.1 percent. Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 lost 0.3 percent, and the Kospi of South Korea dropped 1.7 percent. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng sank 0.3 percent.

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