U.S. Stocks Inch Higher as High-Dividend Companies Rise


markets, stocks, wall street, dow, s&p

U.S. stocks are slightly higher at midday Friday as a dip in bond yields sends high-dividend companies upward and strong sales from Deere helps industrial companies. Chipmakers are sliding, leading losses for technology companies. Tesla is falling further on reports of a growing government investigation into the company.

KEEPING SCORE: The S&P 500 index rose 3 points, or 0.1 percent, to 2,844 as of noon Eastern time. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 82 points, or 0.3 percent, to 25,642. The Nasdaq composite fell 12 points, or 0.2 percent, to 7,793. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks stayed at 1,685.

The S&P 500 is up 0.4 percent this week after a series of big swings linked to worries about Turkey’s currency crisis, China’s economic growth, and hopes for trade talks between the U.S. and China.

CHIPS CHOPPED: Chipmakers fell after two companies gave weaker forecasts for the third quarter. Applied Materials slumped 5.8 percent to $44.67 and Nvidia fell 4.4 percent to $246.05. That affected other technology companies.

Chipmaker Lam Research fell 3 percent to $169.03. Software maker Adobe dipped 1.8 percent to $244.32 and video-game company Activision Blizzard slid 1.9 percent to $68.39.

Some of the market’s favorite technology and retail companies also fell. Netflix lost 2.1 percent to $315.57 and Facebook slipped 0.8 percent to $173.41 after a loss of 3 percent Thursday. Amazon dipped 0.7 percent to $1,872.38.

THE BIG STORE: Nordstrom jumped 11.8 percent to $58.47 after raising its annual profit and sales forecasts and posting better earnings and sales than analysts had expected. It’s been a mostly difficult week for department stores, as Macy’s and J.C. Penney both plunged after issuing their quarterly reports.

BAD NEWS PILEUP: The Wall Street Journal reported that the Securities and Exchange Commission started investigating electric-car maker Tesla last year to determine if it had made false statements about production of its Model 3 sedan.

The SEC is also reportedly looking into CEO Elon Musk’s comments about possibly taking the company private.

Tesla stock rose from about $345 a share to about $380 following Musk’s tweet, which said Tesla could go private for $420 a share. On Friday it dropped 7.7 percent to $309.78.

Musk also gave an emotional interview to The New York Times about the stress he’s experienced as the company tries to ramp up production. He said this year has been “excruciating” and described working up 120 hours a week, raising concerns about his health.

BONDS: Bond prices rose. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 2.86 percent from 2.87 percent.

With yields falling, investors bought shares of high-dividend companies. Beauty-products maker Coty jumped 4.6 percent to $12.01 and Oreo maker Mondelez picked up 1.3 percent to $42.67. Utility company Sempra Energy rose 1 percent to $117.20.

ON THE FARM: Agricultural-equipment maker Deere posted stronger-than-expected sales, and its stock rose 1.9 percent to $139.95. The stock started lower after Deere disclosed a smaller profit than analysts had expected and said rising costs for raw materials and freight are affecting its business.

ENERGY: U.S. crude picked up 0.5 percent to $65.79 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, the standard for international oil prices, climbed 0.4 percent to $71.74 per barrel in London.

CURRENCIES: The dollar dipped to 110.47 yen from 110.88 yen. The euro rose to $1.1413 from $1.1365.

OVERSEAS: The German DAX lost 0.3 percent and Britain’s FTSE 100 fell 0.1 percent. The CAC 40 in France shed 0.1 percent.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 index added 0.4 percent and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng gained 0.4 percent. In South Korea, the Kospi gained 0.3 percent.

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