Bayer Parent Company Tanks in Wake of Monsanto Verdict
U.S. stocks are mostly lower Monday as Turkey’s central bank was unable to stop a steep plunge in the nation’s currency. That’s helping to push the dollar higher, hurting big exporters.
Stocks are coming off their worst losses in a month as investors worry about financial and economic upheaval in Turkey. Asian markets fell overnight, while European markets were slightly lower.
On Monday Turkey’s central bank announced measures to help that country’s banks manage their liquidity, but the Turkish lira and Turkey’s stock market continued to slide.
Global markets skidded Friday as investors worried that financial distress in Turkey could affect the international banking system and the broader economy. Many analysts say that isn’t likely, but it’s caused sharp losses for stocks.
The lira has been tumbling as investors question whether the government of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan can cope with problems including the weakening currency and a diplomatic spat with Washington that has resulted in higher U.S. tariffs.
Erdogan has ruled out the possibility of higher interest rates, which can slow economic growth, but independent analysts say higher rates are urgently needed to stabilize the country’s currency. Erdogan’s refusal is one of several factors worrying investors.
KEEPING SCORE: The S&P 500 index lost 11 points, or 0.4 percent, to 2,822 at closing time. It fell 0.7 percent Friday. The Dow Jones Industrial Average slid 127 points, or 0.5 percent, to 25,186. The Nasdaq composite fell 19 points, or 0.3 percent, to 7,820. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks sank 7 points, or 0.5 percent, to 1,679.
The dollar was already at its highest level in a year and it rose further Monday. Energy and industrial companies and basic materials companies are taking some of the worst losses.
TURKEY TROUBLE: Investors are worried about a confluence of factors including Turkey’s reliance on foreign loans, which become more difficult to repay when the country’s currency is plunging. Also, a diplomatic spat with the U.S. is resulting in sharply higher tariffs on Turkish steel and aluminum.
Turkey’s lira has weakened sharply against other major currencies this year, and its stock market is also falling. Turkey’s ISE National 100 index fell 2.4 percent Monday. It’s down almost 20 percent this year, and most of that loss has come in the last four months.
THE QUOTE: Terry Sandven, chief equity strategist at U.S. Bank Wealth Management, said the dollar has gotten stronger recently because economic growth has picked up and other regions aren’t doing as well.
“The U.S. is a relative beacon of strength with stable to improving economy. That suggests a stronger dollar,” he said.
Stocks were on a five-week winning streak before last week, and strong corporate earnings reports were a big factor. But most of those reports are done, and Sandven said stocks may spend the next two months wavering.
COMMODITIES: Benchmark U.S. crude fell 0.6 percent to $67.20 a barrel in New York. Brent crude lost 0.3 percent to $72.61 a barrel in London.
Wholesale gasoline dipped 1.2 percent to $2.01 a gallon. Heating oil lost 0.1 percent to $2.14 a gallon. Natural gas slid 0.5 percent to $2.93 per 1,000 cubic feet.
Gold dropped 1.6 percent to $1,198.90 an ounce, its lowest price since January 2017. Silver fell 2 percent to $14.98 an ounce. Copper dipped 0.4 percent to $2.73 a pound.
BONDS: Bond prices edged higher. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 2.87 percent from 2.88 percent.
The decline in yields put pressure on banks, as they stand to make less money on mortgages and other loans.
BAYER SINKS: German conglomerate Bayer took a dive after a U.S. jury ruled against its Monsanto unit Friday and awarded $289 million to a former school groundskeeper who said that exposure to Monsanto’s Roundup weed killer caused cancer. Monsanto said government agencies and hundreds of studies have concluded Roundup is safe.
Trading in Germany, Bayer tumbled 10.3 percent.
PANTS SPLIT: V.F. Corp., which makes Wrangler and Lee jeans, said it will separate its denim business so it can focus on its faster-growing outdoor and activewear business. Revenue from denim sales dipped in its latest quarter while sales of outdoor and activewear surged 25 percent.
VF stock lost 4.8 percent to $92.63.
HARLEY HAMMERED: Motorcycle maker Harley-Davidson fell 4.1 percent to $41.47 after President Donald Trump tweeted in support of a potential boycott of its products.
Trump has been criticizing the company since June, when it said it would move some more manufacturing out of the U.S. to avoid European tariffs. The EU put new taxes on U.S. motorcycles in response to the Trump administration’s tariffs on products imported from Europe.
GAINERS: Apple pulled technology companies higher as it rose 1 percent to $209.54 and chipmaker Nvidia climbed 1.4 percent.
Most retailers were down, but Amazon advanced 0.9 percent to $1,902.38. It’s on pace to become the most expensive stock on the S&P 500, ahead of travel website Booking Holdings.
RATINGS RALLY: Nielsen Holdings jumped 10.5 percent to $24.29 after Elliott Associates, a firm run by activist investor Paul Singer, disclosed an ownership stake and said Nielsen should consider selling itself or some of its assets to boost its stock price.
Nielsen stock has been sinking since it traded over $50 two years ago.
OVERSEAS: Germany’s DAX declined 0.5 percent and London’s FTSE 100 retreated 0.3 percent. France’s CAC 40 fell less than 0.1 percent.
Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 lost 2 percent and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng retreated 1.5 percent.
CURRENCIES: The dollar rose to 110.69 yen from 110.64 yen. The euro dipped to $1.1394 from $1.1398.
© The Associated Press. All rights reserved.