U.S. Stock Indexes End Choppy Day of Trading Slightly Lower


U.S. stock indexes struggled to find direction Wednesday, ending the choppy day of trading with a loss for the second straight day.

The latest market decline was modest compared with the previous day’s steep drop, but both were largely driven by a sell-off in technology stocks. Losses in Amazon and other consumer-focused companies also weighed on the market Wednesday. Energy stocks fell in tandem with crude oil prices.

Those losses outweighed gains by drugstore chains, health care companies and other stocks.

The benchmark S&P 500 index lost 7.62 points, or 0.3 percent, at 2,605. The Dow Jones industrial average fell 9.29 points, or 0.04 percent, to 23,848.42. The Nasdaq composite slid 59.58 points, or 0.8 percent, to 6,949.23. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks lost 0.54 points, or 0.04 percent, to 1,513.03. More stocks rose than fell on the New York Stock Exchange.

Bond prices were little changed. The yield on the 10-year Treasury held at 2.78 percent.

The major stock indexes wobbled between gains and losses for much of the day as investors weighed the latest developments with some of the market’s biggest names.

Facebook, which has taken a beating in recent days over privacy concerns, reflected the broader movement of the market, dipping into the red at times before eking out a small gain. The social media giant said early Wednesday it would give its privacy tools a makeover. The stock gained 81 cents, or 0.5 percent, to $153.03.

Software company Red Hat was the technology sector’s biggest decliner, sliding $8.22, or 5.3 percent, to $146.20.

Investors also fretted about Amazon after Axios, citing anonymous sources, reported Wednesday that President Donald Trump has wondered aloud if there was a way to “go after” Amazon with antitrust or competition law. Shares in the e-commerce giant fell $65.63, or 4.4 percent, to $1,431.42.

Netflix also declined, shedding $14.92, or 5 percent, to $285.77.

Tesla tumbled 7.7 percent after Moody’s downgraded the electric car maker’s credit rating. The move piles more pain on Tesla, whose stock has been pummeled by news that authorities will investigate a fatal crash that involved a Tesla electric SUV equipped with a semi-autonomous control system. The stock lost $21.40 to $257.78.

Walgreens gained 2.5 percent after the largest U.S. drugstore chain reported quarterly earnings and revenue that came in ahead of analysts’ forecasts. The stock rose $1.63 to $67.59.

Benchmark U.S. crude lost 87 cents, or 1.3 percent, to settle at $64.38 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, used to price international oils, fell 58 cents, or 0.8 percent, to $69.53 per barrel in London.

The slide in oil prices weighed on energy sector stocks. Occidental Petroleum gave up $2.67, or 4.1 percent, to $63.15.

In other energy futures trading, heating oil dropped 1 cent to $2.01 a gallon. Wholesale gasoline was little changed at $2.01 a gallon. Natural gas dropped 2 cents to $2.70 per 1,000 cubic feet.

The dollar rose to 106.88 yen from 105.54 yen Tuesday. The euro fell to $1.2313 from $1.2402.

Gold fell $17.80, or 1.3 percent, to $1,324.20 an ounce. Silver dropped 29 cents to $16.25 an ounce. Copper was little changed at $3 a pound.