Energy, Tech Companies Help Pull Stocks Broadly Lower


Energy stocks led a broad slide on Wall Street Thursday as oil and gas prices fell, handing the market its second straight loss.

Losses in technology and communications stocks also helped power the sell-off, offsetting gains in health care and real estate companies. Banks also rose, getting a boost from rising bond yields, which allow lenders to charge higher interest on loans.

The market’s downward tilt came as investors continued to weigh remarks on Wednesday by the head of the Federal Reserve that appeared to dim prospects for an interest rate cut this year.

The S&P 500 index fell 6.21 points, or 0.2%, to 2,917.52. The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 122.35 points, or 0.5%, to 26,307.79. The Nasdaq composite, which is heavily weighted with technology companies, slid 12.87 points, or 0.2%, to 8,036.77.

Smaller company stocks fared better. The Russell 2000 index rose 6.27 points, or 0.4%, to 1,582.65.

Major indexes in Europe finished mostly lower.

The S&P 500 index is up 16.4% for the year and notched three straight all-time highs before finishing lower Wednesday after the remarks by Federal Reserve Chair Jay Powell.

In those remarks, Powell played down the possibility of an interest rate cut this year and restated the central bank’s message that there will likely be no rate hikes in 2019.

The U.S. stock market has been riding high this year as it’s made its way back from a nosedive at the end of 2018. The Fed spurred the market’s recovery earlier this year when it signaled that it would take a patient approach to raising interest rates.

On Thursday, a slide in crude oil prices helped drag down energy stocks. The sector fell 1.7%, more than triple the declines in the technology and communications sectors.

Benchmark U.S. crude fell 2.8% to settle at $61.81 per barrel. Brent crude, the international standard, dropped 2% to close at $70.75.

Marathon Oil dropped 6.1% after the company reported revenue that fell short of estimates.

Technology stocks, the biggest gainers this year, also weighed on the market. Cognizant Technology Solutions led the sector’s decliners, losing 7.7%. Microsoft fell 1.3%.

Among media companies, Fox Corp. and Discovery Inc. each fell more than 5%.

Earnings reporting season is more than a third of the way through and the results have been better than investors had expected.

The market seemed to approve of Tesla’s decision to attempt to raise more than $2 billion in a stock and debt offering. The electric car maker reported a shrinking balance sheet and falling sales during the first quarter and CEO Elon Musk had suggested it might need to raise more money. The stock rose 4.3%.

Bond prices fell. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note, which influences mortgages and some other loans, rose to 2.54% from 2.51% late Wednesday.

In other commodities trading, wholesale gasoline fell 2.2% to $2.02 per gallon. Heating oil slid 0.8% to $2.08 per gallon. Natural gas dropped 1.2% to $2.59 per 1,000 cubic feet.

Gold fell 1% to $1,272 per ounce, silver lost 0.8% to $14.62 per ounce and copper slid 0.8% to $2.78 per pound.

The dollar weakened to 111.50 Japanese yen from 111.61 yen late Wednesday. The euro dropped to $1.1175 from $1.1194.

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