Stocks mixed as technology dip cancels out media rally
NEW YORK – U.S. stocks finished mostly higher Monday as banks, media and energy companies climbed just enough to cancel out losses for technology companies including Facebook and Amazon.
Cable provider Charter Communications surged on a report it might be bought by a Japanese technology company. Meanwhile, cable networks Scripps Networks and Discovery Communications agreed to combine in a deal worth almost $12 billion.
Technology companies missed out. Facebook returned some of its gains from last week, when it posted strong second-quarter results, and reports of higher expenses continued to affect Amazon’s shares. Banks rose, with HSBC climbing after it disclosed its own earnings.
About half of the companies in the Standard & Poor’s 500 have reported their second-quarter results, and this week, Apple and other companies will join the fray. Steve Wood, chief market strategist for Russell Investments, said he expects strong earnings for U.S. companies, but he thinks stock markets in other regions will do better.
“The earnings cycle and the economic cycle are earlier stage and the central bank of Europe is going to be providing liquidity over the next year,” he said. “It’s been an eight-and-a-half-year bull market in the U.S. and eight-plus-year economic expansion.”
The Standard & Poor’s 500 index fell 1.80 points, or 0.1 percent, to 2,470.30. The Dow Jones industrial average continued to build on its record highs. It gained 60.81 points, or 0.3 percent, to 21,891.12. The Nasdaq composite lost 26.55 points, or 0.4 percent, to 6,348.12. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks dipped 4.12 points, or 0.3 percent, to 1,425.14. A majority of the stocks on the New York Stock Exchange rose.
Charter Communications climbed after Bloomberg reported that Japanese conglomerate SoftBank is considering buying it. The report Sunday said that SoftBank initially wanted to combine Charter with Sprint, but after Charter rejected that idea, the technology company may buy Charter outright. Shares of the cable provider jumped $21.65, or 5.8 percent, to $391.91, and investors value Charter at about $101 billion.
Discovery Communications, which owns TLC and the Discovery Channel, will buy Scripps Networks Interactive for $90 per share. Scripps, which owns HGTV and the Travel Channel, picked up 50 cents to $87.41. It’s up 30 percent in two weeks on reports the companies would combine. Discovery took the largest loss on the S&P 500 index as it fell $2.20, or 8.2 percent, to $24.60.
Elsewhere, Comcast added 93 cents, or 2.4 percent, to $40.45.
HSBC said higher interest rates helped it make more money from its lending business, and it plans to buy back another $2 billion in stock. Its shares climbed $1.19, or 2.4 percent, to $50.09 and Capital One Financial picked up $1.21, or 1.4 percent, to $86.18.
Among technology companies, Facebook lost $3.20, or 1.9 percent, to $169.25. The social media network leaped 8.6 percent last week. Alphabet, Google’s parent company, shed $12.83, or 1.3 percent, to $945.50 and chipmaker Micron Technology lost $1.18, or 4 percent, to $28.10.
E-commerce giant Amazon also slumped $32.26, or 3.2 percent, to $98.78.
Dynavax Technologies soared after a panel advising the Food and Drug Administration said study data shows its Heplisav-B vaccine is safe for adults. Heplisav-B is intended to prevent hepatitis B infections. It would be the company’s first approved drug. The stock climbed $6.60, or 71.4 percent, to $15.85.
Boeing continued its rapid ascent following reports it will make electronics used in flight control. Its stock added $1.19 to $242.46. Boeing has given the Dow a 205-point boost over the last four days. Aviation electronics company Rockwell Collins lost $7.20, or 6.3 percent, to $106.53 as investors worried about the impact of Boeing’s plans.
Health insurer Centene slumped as President Donald Trump considered ending federal cost-sharing payments, which help low-income customers buy insurance through marketplaces created by the 2010 Affordable Care Act. Centene is one of the largest insurers on those marketplaces. Its stock fell $3.27, or 4 percent, to $79.42.
The price of oil rose again after its best week of the year. Benchmark U.S. crude added 46 cents to $50.17 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, the international standard, picked up 13 cents to $52.65 a barrel in London. U.S. crude rose almost 9 percent last week to reach its highest price since late May.
Wholesale gasoline rose 3 cents to $1.71 a gallon. Heating oil added 1 cent to $1.65 a gallon. Natural gas plunged 15 cents, or 5 percent, to $2.79 per 1,000 cubic feet.
Bond prices were little changed. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note stayed at 2.29 percent.
Gold fell $1.90 to $1,273.40 an ounce. Silver rose 9 cents to $16.79 an ounce. Copper added 2 cents to $2.89 a pound.
The dollar slipped to 110.24 yen from 110.60 yen. The euro rose to $1.1831 from $1.1760.
Germany’s DAX lost 0.4 percent and the CAC 40 of France sank 0.7 percent. The FTSE 100 in Britain made a tiny gain. The Japanese Nikkei 225 index slipped 0.2 percent and the Kospi in South Korea finished little changed. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index jumped 1.3 percent.