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Stocks Mark Third Straight Day of Losses

Stocks Mark Third Straight Day of Losses

Stocks closed broadly lower on Wall Street, giving the market its third straight loss and more in Wednesday’s Stock Market Update.

Health care, technology and energy companies accounted for the bulk of the market’s slide Wednesday, offsetting gains in materials stocks and utilities. Several retailers also rose.

Smaller companies fell more than the rest of the market.

General Electric lost 7.9 percent a day after falling 4.7 percent, and Pfizer fell 2.4 percent.

Abercrombie & Fitch surged 20 percent after reporting results that were much better than analysts expected.

THE SCORE: The S&P 500 index fell 18 points, or 0.7 percent, to 2,771. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gave up 133 points, or 0.5 percent, to 25,673. The Nasdaq fell 70 points, or 0.9 percent, to 7,505.

Bond prices rose. The yield on the 10-year Treasury fell to 2.68 percent.

ANALYST’S TAKE: “We’re just waiting for some news that will give us some direction,” said Tracie McMillion, head of global asset allocation at Wells Fargo Investment Institute.

The market got clarity on some uncertainties over the last month, including the Federal Reserve’s strategy and prospects for a U.S.-China trade deal, she said. But investors now face other concerns including a potential global slowdown and increased government debt.

NOT FEELING WELL: Health care stocks led the market decline. Nektar Therapeutics slumped 4.9 percent.

EMPTY PURSE: General Electric slid 7.4 percent after the conglomerate’s CEO said it will be left with no extra funds in 2019.

GE has shrunk considerably since becoming entangled in the financial crisis a decade ago and has sought to divest even more of its businesses. Despite ongoing struggles in its power division, GE posted better-than-expected revenue last quarter on the strength of its other business segments.

NOT SO SLICK: Exxon Mobil fell 1.8 percent after the energy company said it would increase spending. Exxon was one of many energy stocks trading lower. Hess was down 4.5 percent, while Halliburton slid 4.6 percent.

RETAIL RISES AGAIN: A solid fourth quarter and forecast pushed shares of Abercrombie & Fitch 21.4 percent higher. The retailer beat an important industry sales measure on gains at its Hollister brand.

Abercrombie’s results come a day after Target and Kohl’s reported solid earnings and forecasts. The strong results came as a pleasant surprise for investors, considering that overall retail sales fell broadly in December.

Among other retailers, Tailored Brands rose 3.4 percent.

MAKEOVER: Dollar Tree gained 5.7 percent after the discount retail chain said it is closing up to 390 Family Dollar stores this year and rebranding about 200 others under the Dollar Tree name.

The company also slashed the value of its struggling Family Dollar chain, booking a $2.73 billion charge in its fiscal fourth quarter.

Dollar Tree acquired Family Dollar in 2015 for almost $9 billion. The move was expected to bolster its business and better battle chains like Walmart and rival Dollar General, but Family Dollar has struggled and pulled down the parent company’s earnings.

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