Weak Earnings and Rising Bond Yields Send U.S. Stocks Down


Rising bond yields and a string of weak company reports and forecasts pushed stocks lower Wednesday as major indexes retreated from their recent record highs. Industrial and technology companies and banks fared the worst.

Companies including telecom giant AT&T, aerospace company Boeing, chipmaker Advanced Micro Devices and credit card issuer Discover Financial Services all gave shaky results, disappointing forecasts, or both. That sent stocks downward, and in early afternoon trading the Dow Jones industrial average fell as much as 190 points, after setting a record the day before. Stocks recovered some of their losses in afternoon trading, but all 11 industry sectors in the Standard & Poor’s 500 index finished the day lower.

Bond yields jumped to seven-month highs after a report from the Commerce Department showed orders for long-lasting manufactured goods and business investment grew in September. That’s good news for the economy, but it actually hurt stocks Wednesday, said Sam Stovall, chief investment strategist at CFRA Equity Research, because it might lead to greater inflation.

The S&P 500 shed 11.98 points, or 0.5 percent, to 2,557.15. The Dow Jones industrial average fell 112.30 points, or 0.5 percent, to 23,329.46. The Nasdaq composite sank 34.54 points, or 0.5 percent, to 6,563.89. The Russell 2000 index, which is comprised of smaller-company stocks, dropped 6.94 points, or 0.5 percent, to 1,493.48.

Despite the gains in aircraft sales, a solid third-quarter report and a boost in its profit forecast, Boeing stock slumped $7.58, or 2.8 percent, to $258.42 Wednesday. It’s almost doubled in value in the last 12 months.

Bond prices fell again. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 2.44 percent from 2.42 percent. That put pressure on companies that pay large dividends, like telecommunications companies, and utilities. Those stocks tend to do better when bond yields are down, making the stocks more attractive to investors who are looking for income.

While rising bond yields and interest rates usually help bank stocks, that was canceled out by disappointing earnings reports. Discover Financial Services lost $2.24, or 3.3 percent, to $65.15 as the credit card issuer and lender set aside more money to cover potential losses on bad loans. Regional bank Huntington Bancshares fell 33 cents, or 2.4 percent, to $13.88.

Benchmark U.S. crude shed 29 cents to $52.18 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, rose 11 cents to $58.44 per barrel in London.

Wholesale gasoline rose 2 cents to $1.73 a gallon. Heating oil remained at $1.82 a gallon. Natural gas fell 6 cents to $2.92 per 1,000 cubic feet.

Gold inched up 70 cents to $1,279 an ounce. Silver lost 4 cents to $16.93 an ounce. Copper fell 2 cents to $3.18 a pound.

The dollar rose to 113.72 yen from 113.58 yen. The euro edged up to $1.1807 from $1.1788. The British pound rose to $1.3255 from $1.3136.

Britain’s FTSE 100 dipped 1.1 percent as investors felt a stronger-than-expected report on economic growth makes it more likely the Bank of England will raise interest rates next month. France’s CAC 40 fell 0.4 percent and the DAX in Germany lost 0.5 percent.

The Nikkei 225 index fell 0.5 percent as a 16-day winning streak for Japanese stocks came to an end. The index rose 7.2 percent over that period, its longest winning streak since World War II. The South Korean Kospi added 0.1 percent and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng gained 0.5 percent.