Friday, March 24, 2023

US Indexes Mostly Fall; Travel Companies Sink After Attacks

By on March 22, 2016

FILE - In this Wednesday, Oct. 8, 2014, file photo, a street sign for Wall Street hangs near the New York Stock Exchange. U.S. stocks are opening broadly lower, Tuesday, March 22, 2016, led by declines in travel-related companies following the attacks in Belgium. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)

A street sign for Wall Street hangs near the New York Stock Exchange. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)

U.S. stock indexes closed mostly lower Tuesday as airlines, cruise companies and travel booking sites fell following the deadly bombings in Belgium.

News of the attacks, which killed at least 31 people, pulled the broader market lower for much of the morning. An early afternoon rally erased some of the losses, but the rebound didn’t hold.

Oil drilling companies also slumped following a downbeat forecast on drilling. Health care and technology stocks gained ground.

The last-minute slide snapped a four-day winning streak for the market. Trading was relatively light, reflecting the Easter holiday weekend. It also signaled that traders were not rattled by the potential market implications of the attack.

“This is the new investing normal now,” said Chris Gaffney, president of EverBank World Markets. “You’re going to have these big tragic events, so I don’t think investors are really too concerned with it long-term.”

The Dow Jones industrial average lost 41.30 points, or 0.2 percent, to 17,582.57. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index dipped 1.80 points, or 0.1 percent, to 2,049.80. The Nasdaq composite added 12.79 points, or 0.3 percent, to 4,821.66.

The three main U.S. stock indexes headed lower early on Tuesday as traders digested the news that bombs had struck the Brussels airport and one of the city’s metro stations. Belgium raised its terror alert to the highest level. Airports across Europe tightened security. The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the attacks.

The major European stock markets declined early on, but ultimately closed higher.

Germany’s DAX rose 0.4 percent, while the CAC-40 in France edged up 0.1 percent. The FTSE 100 index of leading British shares was up 0.1 percent. Belgium’s BEL 20 index rose 0.2 percent.

“What happens is investors and traders go in and start to bottom-fish on sectors that have sold off,” said Quincy Krosby, market strategist at Prudential Financial. “It flies in the face of the headlines and the human cost of these terrorist attacks, but the stock markets tend to turn around.”

In the U.S., travel-related companies slumped and never quite recovered.

Royal Caribbean Cruises shed $2.24, or 2.9 percent, to $75.99, while Carnival lost $1.03, or 2.1 percent, to $48.75.

American Airlines Group fell 71 cents, or 1.6 percent, to $42.76, while Delta Air Lines fell 73 cents, or 1.5 percent, to $49.39.

Travel website operators Priceline Group and Expedia also fell.

Priceline slid $31.10, or 2.3 percent, to $1,319.41, while Expedia lost $1.96, or 1.8 percent, to $108.92.

“The only sector that appears to be truly suffering, naturally, is anything having to do with travel,” said J.J. Kinahan, TD Ameritrade’s chief strategist.

Transocean also slumped Tuesday.

The oil drilling company shed 53 cents, or 5 percent, to $10 after management said they don’t expect drilling to increase any time soon. The outlook weighed on other drillers. Ensco lost 32 cents, or 2.8 percent, to $11.01, while Helmerich & Payne slid $1.12, or 1.8 percent, to $59.86.

Other stocks fared better.

Staples climbed 7.6 percent to lead all gainers in the S&P 500 index. The company recovered some of its losses from a day earlier, when a court battle over the office supply chain’s proposed merger with Office Depot began. The stock added 73 cents to $10.30.

Markets in Asia were mixed.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 climbed 1.9 percent, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index shed early gains, sliding 0.1 percent. South Korea’s Kospi gained 0.4 percent, while Australia’s S&P ASX 200 edged up 0.1 percent.

In energy trading, benchmark U.S. crude slipped 7 cents to close at $41.45 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, the benchmark for international oils, rose 25 cents to $41.79 a barrel in London. In other energy trading, wholesale gasoline added 4 cents, or 2.6 percent, to close at $1.50 a gallon, while heating oil rose a penny to close at $1.25 a gallon. Natural gas added 4 cents, or 1.9 percent, to close at $1.86 per 1,000 cubic feet.

Among metals, gold rose $4.40, or 0.4 percent, to $1,248.60 an ounce. Silver gained 4 cents, or 0.2 percent, to $15.89 an ounce. Copper was little changed at $2.29 a pound.

U.S. government bond prices fell. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 1.94 percent from 1.92 percent late Monday. The euro fell to $1.1216 from $1.1251, while the dollar rose to 112.33 yen from 111.86.

The Associated Press

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