Tech Companies Help Pull U.S. Stocks Lower in Afternoon Trade

(AP) —
A trader on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, Thursday. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

U.S. stocks moved broadly lower in afternoon-trading Thursday, placing the market on track for its first loss this week. Technology companies, makers of consumer products and health care stocks accounted for much of the slide. Banks bucked the trend, rising along with bond yields. Oil prices rose.

KEEPING SCORE: The S&P 500 index fell 25 points, or 0.9 percent, to 2,683 as of 1:11 p.m. Eastern Time. The Dow Jones industrial average slid 168 points, or 0.7 percent, to 24,579. The Nasdaq composite lost 76 points, or 1 percent, to 7,219. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks gave up 8 points, or 0.6 percent, to 1,574. The S&P 500 is coming off a three-day winning streak.

TECH SLUMP: Chipmakers led a slide in technology stocks. Applied Materials tumbled 6.6 percent to $51.14.

WHAT A DRAG: Philip Morris International slumped 15.8 percent to $85.39, after the tobacco company’s disclosed weak quarterly sales, noting that sales of its iQos device in Japan were slower than expected.

GOING SHOPPING: Procter & Gamble agreed to buy Merck KGaA’s consumer health business for about $4.2 billion. That weighed on Procter & Gamble’s shares, which declined 3.4 percent to $74.88.

DEAL HURDLE: Qualcomm slid 4.5 percent to $52.73 after the Chinese government said it still has concerns about the company’s deal to buy NXP Semiconductors. Qualcomm withdrew one proposal for the deal Monday and submitted another.

CHARGED UP: American Express jumped 5.9 percent to $100.79 after the credit card issuer reported a big quarterly profit, thanks to strong customer spending and a lower tax rate.

ENERGY: Oil futures extended their rally. Benchmark U.S. crude rose 34 cents to $68.81 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, used to price international oils, added 71 cents, or 1 percent, to $74.19 per barrel in London.

The pickup in oil prices helped push energy stocks higher. Kinder Morgan added 2.2 percent to $16.52.

BOND YIELDS: Bond prices fell. The yield on the 10-year Treasury rose to 2.92 percent from 2.88 percent late Wednesday. That’s the highest level since February. When bond yields rise, they push up interest rates on mortgages and other loans, which can translate into bigger profits for banks. That helped drive bank shares higher. Bank of New York Mellon gained 4.2 percent to $54.48.

CURRENCIES: The dollar rose to 107.29 yen from 107.26 yen on Wednesday. The euro fell to $1.2343 from $1.2377.

MARKETS OVERSEAS: In Europe, Germany’s DAX slipped 0.2 percent, while France’s CAC 40 rose 0.2 percent. Britain’s FTSE 100 added 0.2 percent. Major indexes in Asia finished higher. Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 index rose 0.6 percent, and South Korea’s Kospi added 0.4 percent. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng jumped 1.3 percent. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 gained 0.6 percent. Shares also rose in Taiwan and Southeast Asia.

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