U.S. stock indexes are hardly budging Wednesday as banks and technology companies give back some of their gains from earlier in the week while retailers and energy companies trade higher. Apple continues to take small losses as investors contemplate its new lineup of iPhones and other products. Target said it will hire far more workers for the end-of-year season this year, which has investors hoping for a strong end-of-year shopping period.
KEEPING SCORE: The Standard & Poor’s 500 index held steady at 2,496 as of 11:15 a.m. Eastern time. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 6 points to 22,125. The Nasdaq composite lost 1 point to 6,452. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks gained 4 points, or 0.3 percent, to 1,427.
The S&P 500, Dow and Nasdaq all closed at record highs Tuesday.
ON SALE? Department store chain Nordstrom climbed after CNBC reported that the Nordstrom family is close to a deal to take the company private. The stock has risen over the last three months following talk that descendants of co-founder John Nordstrom might buy the 70 percent of the company they don’t already own. Several of the company’s top executives are Nordstrom family members. The stock gained $2.34, or 5.2 percent, to $47.39.
IF THEY CAN MAKE IT THERE: Medicaid coverage provider Centene said it will expand into New York through a $3.75 billion acquisition of Fidelis Care. Its stock jumped $5.42, or 6 percent, to $96.30. Centene focuses most of its business on the state and federal Medicaid programs, but it has also expanded into several states over the past year through the Affordable Care Act’s exchanges.
JILTED: Hard drive maker Western Digital slumped $4.71, or 5.3 percent, to $84.07 after its partner Toshiba said it will sell its computer memory business to a consortium led by Bain Capital Private Equity. Western Digital wants to buy that business and has filed a lawsuit to stop Toshiba from selling that business to anyone else. Toshiba has said it needs to sell the division to help offset losses by its Westinghouse Electric nuclear business, which filed for bankruptcy protection in March.
STAY ON TARGET: Target said it plans to hire 100,000 workers for the end of the year. That’s 40 percent more than it hired a year ago. Its stock climbed $1.55, or 2.7 percent, to $59.44 and other retailers also advanced. Electronics seller Best Buy rose $1.58, or 2.8 percent, to $58.37 and clothing retailer Gap gained 45 cents, or 1.6 percent, to $28.06. Video game seller GameStop increased 34 cents, or 1.7 percent, to $19.87 and Amazon.com rose $6.59 to $989.17.
APPLE: Apple fell $1.97, or 1.2 percent, to $158.89. Investors appeared worried about the high price tag of the tenth-anniversary iPhone X as well as its later sales date. The phone won’t be available until early November, which could affect Apple’s revenue in the next few quarters. The iPhone 8 will come out Sept. 22. Investors appeared to be pleased with some of Apple’s plans Tuesday, including new features that are being added to the Apple Watch, but the company’s stock took a small loss a day ago.
Several electronics companies that have been linked to Apple were also down. One was Power Integrations, which makes circuits used for power conversion. Its stock rallied this summer on reports it would be involved in the wireless charging station Apple will sell along with its new iPhones. Power Integrations fell $3.80, or 5.1 percent, to $70.10.
ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude rose 57 cents, or 1.2 percent, to $48.80 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, gained 39 cents to $54.66 a barrel in London.
CURRENCIES: The dollar rose to 110.60 yen from 110.11 yen. The euro fell to $1.1913 from $1.1970.
BONDS: Bond prices edged higher. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 2.18 percent from 2.17 percent.
OVERSEAS: The German DAX and CAC 40 in France both rose 0.2 percent. London’s FTSE 100 index declined 0.1 percent. In Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 rose 0.4 percent. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng declined 0.3 percent and the Kospi in South Korea shed 0.2 percent.