US stocks dip as retailers and media companies slump
NEW YORK — U.S. stocks are slipping in early trading Thursday as retailers and communications and media companies decline. Women’s clothing retailer J. Jill is tumbling after it slashed its forecast for the third quarter. AT&T is falling after it said it expects to lose DirecTV subscribers, while cable company Charter and entertainment conglomerate Viacom are down on reports that Viacom channels may go off the air in the New York area because of a contract dispute.
KEEPING SCORE: The Standard & Poor’s 500 index fell 3 points, or 0.1 percent, to 2,552 as of 10:13 a.m. Eastern time. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 16 points, or 0.1 percent, to 22,856. The Nasdaq composite shed 6 points, or 0.1 percent, to 6,597. All three of those indexes closed at record highs Wednesday. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks lost 3 points, or 0.2 percent, to 1,503.
BLANK SCREEN: AT&T said it will lose about 90,000 DirecTV video subscribers in the U.S. because of growing competition in streaming video services. It said tighter credit standards and hurricanes also affected its business. AT&T also said hurricanes and the recent earthquakes in Mexico will reduces its earnings by about $210 million in the next quarter. Its stock fell $1.25, or 3.3 percent, to $36.94.
Competitor Verizon Communications shed 34 cents to $38.52.
CABLE COMBAT: Viacom and cable company Charter Communications both fell on reports that contract negotiations between them are stalling. That could result Viacom channels like MTV and Nickelodeon temporarily going off the air for subscribers to Charter’s New York-area Spectrum service. Viacom dropped $1.66, or 6.6 percent, to $23.55 and Charter gave up $8.43, or 2.3 percent, to $356.69.
Other media companies were also down. Comcast fell 92 cents, or 2.5 percent, to $36.50.
PANIC IN THE AISLES: J. Jill stock nosedived after the retailer of women’s clothes, shoes and accessories slashed its outlook for the third quarter. The company said retail and direct-to-consumer sales both fell short of its expectations. It’s now expecting an adjusted profit of 8 to 10 cents per share, down from its earlier forecast of 18 to 20 cents per share. J. Jill plunged $4.91, or 49.4 percent, to $5.02.
Elsewhere Signet Jewelers tumbled $1.88, or 2.9 percent, to $62.21 and department store operator Kohl’s fell $1.44, or 3.3 percent, to $41.78. Gap lost 78 cents, or 2.7 percent, to $27.64.
BANKS: JPMorgan Chase and Citigroup both did better than analysts expected. Citigroup said its investment banking business did well, while JPMorgan Chase said its consumer banking business improved. However both stocks traded slightly lower Thursday morning. Citigroup fell 45 cents to $74.49 and JPMorgan Chase shed 46 cents to $96.38.
ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude oil lost $1, or 1.9 percent, to $50.30 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, fell 85 cents, or 1.5 percent, to $56.09 a barrel in London. That weighed on energy companies. Chevron sank 35 cents to $118.98 and Apache declined $1.08, or 2.6 percent, to $40.88.
BONDS: Bond prices rose. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 2.34 percent from 2.35 percent.
CURRENCIES: The dollar inched down to 112.38 yen from 112.42 yen. The euro declined to $1.1833 from $1.1855.
EUROPE: France’s CAC 40 lost 0.1 percent while the German DAX added 0.1 percent. Britain’s FTSE 100 rose 0.2 percent as the pound dropped. That came after a European Union regulator said talks with Britain about its departure from the EU hadn’t made any significant progress.
ASIA: Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 continued to reach 21-year highs and added 0.4 percent. The South Korean Kospi rose 0.7 percent and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng advanced 0.3 percent.