Stocks are closing slightly lower on Wall Street after a mid-afternoon rally faded away and more in Thursday’s Stock Market Update. The modest declines came after three days of gains, including the market’s biggest jump in eight months on Wednesday.
Technology companies and banks had the biggest declines, offsetting gains in health care and other sectors. Bank of America fell 1.4 percent and Intel gave up 2.4 percent.
Deutsche Bank sank 4.8 percent after Germany authorities searched its headquarters on suspicion that employees helped clients launder money.
STOCK MARKET UPDATE
KEEPING SCORE: The S&P 500 fell 5 points, or 0.2 percent, to 2,737. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 27 points, or 0.1 percent, to 25,338. The Nasdaq fell 18 points, or 0.3 percent, to 7,273.
FED MINUTES: The Federal Reserve released minutes from its meeting in early November. Officials expressed concerns about a variety of threats to the economy, including the impact of tariffs, a slowing global economy and tightening financial conditions amid falling stock prices. The assessment was in line with comments Wednesday from Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell.
“That’s what the Fed is trying to put out there, is they haven’t gotten carried away with rate increases,” said Thomas Martin, portfolio manager at Globalt Investments in Atlanta. “The market wants to see … that they are going to be gradual.”
Stocks rallied after Powell suggested in a speech that the Fed might be almost done raising interest rates, and is willing to stop raising rates at least temporarily so it can assess the effects of the last few years of increases. Investors have been nervous that climbing interest rates will contribute to a damaging slowdown in economic growth. That fear is one of the major reasons behind the slide in stocks this autumn.
“In September, the feeling (in the markets) was more confident,” Martin said. “Third quarter earnings reports, I think, really started to change that, and the continuing weakness of data overseas, in Europe and the rest of the world, has changed that.”
ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude briefly dipped below $50 a barrel overnight, but jumped 2.3 percent to finish at $51.45 a barrel in New York. Brent crude rose 1.3 percent to $59.51 a barrel in London.
EOG Resources rose 2 percent to $105.87 and Anadarko Petroleum gained 2.7 percent to $53.95. The S&P 500 index of energy companies has dropped almost 12 percent over the last three months, worse than any of the other major market sectors. The S&P 500 itself has fallen about 6 percent over that time.
Health care stocks, meanwhile, have jumped 7 percent in the last month, about double the gains in the broader market. That rally continued Thursday. Insurer UnitedHealth picked up 1.3 percent to $284.72 and medical device maker Medtronic added 2 percent to $97.26.
BONDS: Bond prices edged higher. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 3.03 percent from 3.04 percent. Banks fell as investors expected slower increases in interest rates, which reduce the profits banks make from mortgages and other types of loans. Bank of America shed 1 percent to $28.15 and Bank of New York Mellon slid 1.3 percent to $50.96.
SEARCHED BANK: German authorities suspect that Deutsche Bank employees helped clients set up offshore companies in tax havens to launder hundreds of millions of euros. A prosecutor in Frankfurt said the investigation focuses on two employees and possibly other suspects. Deutsche Bank stock lost 4.7 percent to $9.43. It’s down 51 percent so far this year.
CALL YOUR DOCTOR: Medical lab operator Quest Diagnostics sank 9.3 percent to $87.95 after it cut its annual profit and revenue forecasts. The company cited a host of problems including larger reserves and reduced testing volumes. Rival LabCorp fell 1.7 percent to $162.31.
CHIP CHIP, HOORAY: Qualcomm stock jumped 3.6 percent to $58.71 after Qualcomm CEO Steve Mollenkopf said in an interview with CNBC that the company is close to resolving its long and costly dispute with Apple. Apple stopped making licensing fee payments to Qualcomm following a legal dispute between the companies, and later decided to stop using Qualcomm parts in some of its products.
But other technology companies fell. Apple slipped 0.7 percent to $179.69 and Microsoft dipped 0.3 percent to $110.71. Intel lost 1.9 percent to $47.93.
CONSUMER SPENDING: Consumer spending and incomes both climbed in October. The Commerce Department said both figures grew much faster than they did in September. Those are both good signs for future economic growth.
OTHER COMMODITIES: Wholesale gasoline jumped 4.1 percent to $1.45 a gallon. Heating oil edged up 0.3 percent to $1.84 a gallon. Natural gas slipped 1.1 percent to $4.65 per 1,000 cubic feet.
Gold was little changed at $1,230.40 an ounce. Silver slipped 0.4 percent to $14.40 an ounce. Copper lost 0.9 percent to $2.79 a pound.
CURRENCY: The dollar slid to 113.43 yen from 113.53 yen. The euro edged up to $1.1389 from $1.1376.
OVERSEAS STOCK MARKET UPDATE: The FTSE 100 in Britain and the French CAC 40 both rose 0.5 percent. Germany’s DAX finished little changed.
Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 rose 0.4 percent and Seoul’s Kospi advanced 0.3 percent while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng shed 0.9 percent.
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