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VOL. 41 | NO. 13 | Friday, March 31, 2017
Stocks wobble in the early going a day after late sell-off
NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stocks are wavering Thursday morning after a sharp drop late in the previous day. Energy companies are rising with the price of oil and retailers are up after a series of strong sales reports. Later, President Donald Trump and his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, will start a two-day meeting.
KEEPING SCORE: The Standard & Poor's 500 index added 3 points, or 0.1 percent, to 2,356 as of 10 a.m. Eastern time. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 24 points, or 0.1 percent, to 20,672. The Nasdaq composite gained 7 points, or 0.1 percent, to 5,871. The Russell 2000 index of small-company stocks continued to lag the rest of the market. It was down less than 1 point to 1,351.
Stocks sank late Wednesday after the Federal Reserve disclosed the minutes from its March meeting. The Fed is said it may stop buying new bonds later this year and its policymakers were grappling with whether it would be safe to let inflation rise faster.
ENERGY: U.S. crude oil added 44 cents to $51.59 a barrel in New York while Brent crude, the international standard, rose 45 cents to $54.81 a barrel in London. That helped energy companies trade higher.
RETAIL RALLY: A number of retailers traded higher. Victoria's Secret parent L Brands jumped $4.55, or 10.6 percent, to $47.65 and Costco picked up $3.96, or 2.4 percent, to $170.96 after they reported their March sales. Bed Bath & Beyond surpassed analysts' earnings estimates and climbed $2.27, or 6 percent, to $40.07. Discount store Fred's also rose $1.80, or 14.3 percent, to $14.35 after reporting a strong quarter. Retail stocks have been hit hard for months as shoppers spend more money online and less at stores, especially ones based in malls.
BONDS: Bond prices held steady. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note remained at 2.34 percent. Banks wobbled between gains and losses. They fell hard on Wednesday as investors snapped up bonds following the release of minutes from the Fed's policy meeting. With investors buying bonds at a rapid clip, prices rose and yields fell. That sent interest rates lower, which affects the profits banks make from lending.
Citigroup dipped 12 cents to $59.47 and Capital One lost $1.08, or 1.3 percent, to $83.05.
REFRESHING: Wine, liquor and beer maker Constellation Brands jumped after it reported a larger profit and better sales than analysts expected. The company said its beer business, which includes Corona and Modelo, had a strong quarter. Its stock gained $12.25, or 7.6 percent, to $173.65.
COMEBACK: Yum China jumped $2.82, or 10 percent, to $31 after it announced strong quarterly results. The company is recovering from a series of food safety problems and it said its sales are improving.
US-CHINA: Trump will be in focus over the rest of the week as investors assess his meeting in Florida with Xi, which begins later Thursday. North Korea and trade are set to top the agenda. Traders will be monitoring how these key issues are dealt with and whether recent tensions are alleviated.
CURRENCIES: The dollar declined to 110.68 yen from 110.86 yen. The euro fell to $1.0657 from $1.0667.
OVERSEAS: The FTSE 100 index in Britain fell 0.3 percent and France's CAC 40 was 0.5 percent higher. Germany's DAX was little changed. In Japan the benchmark Nikkei 225 lost 1.4 percent, and the Kospi of South Korea lost 0.4 percent. Hong Kong's Hang Seng fell 0.6 percent.
AP Markets Writer Marley Jay can be reached at http://twitter.com/MarleyJayAP His work can be found at http://bigstory.ap.org/journalist/marley-jay