Monday 20 November 2017

Falls for post-election winners drag US stocks lower

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 122.65 points, or 0.6%, to 19,971.13 (AP)
The Dow Jones industrial average fell 122.65 points, or 0.6%, to 19,971.13 (AP)

US stocks fell on Monday as investors grew nervous after Donald Trump imposed a travel ban on seven Muslim-majority countries.

Energy companies, which have surged over the last year, took the biggest losses.

Airlines also skidded after Mr Trump's executive order led to protests and disruption at airports and concerns about travel.

Big-name technology companies sagged on concerns that future administration moves will make it harder for them to hire workers.

Investors took profits as they sold shares of basic materials and industrial companies, which have rallied since the November election.

The VIX, a measure of Wall Street volatility, jumped, though it remains relatively low overall. Stocks in Europe lost ground as well.

Sameer Samana, strategist for Wells Fargo Investment Institute, said investors are not overly alarmed by the news of the travel ban, but added: "It's very difficult to figure out exactly what implications it has for the economy and for markets."

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 122.65 points, or 0.6%, to 19,971.13. It dropped as much as 223 points in the morning. The Standard & Poor's 500 index lost 13.79 points, or 0.6%, to 2,280.90.

The Nasdaq composite dropped 47.07 points, or 0.8%, to 5,613.71 after it closed at an all-time high Friday. Small-company stocks were hit harder. The Russell 2000 index shed 18.37 points, or 1.3%, to 1,352.33.

Late on Friday, Mr Trump suspended the US refugee programme for 120 days and blocked travel to the US by citizens of seven countries. His order is being challenged in court.

Some airports became hosting grounds for protests, and investors wondered if American tourism will be affected. American Airlines fell 2.05 dollars, or 4.4%, to 44.90 dollars and United Continental lost 2.70 dollars, or 3.6%, to 71.72 dollars.

Domestic airlines also struggled, and so did other companies that do not necessarily have much at stake in disputes over immigration policy or global trade.

Mr Samana said there is no specific reason the recent moves would hurt bank profits or small domestically focused companies, and they may not cause long-term trouble for airlines.

Instead, the stocks that did worst on Monday are largely the ones that have done the best since the election, including energy companies, banks and smaller companies.

Construction and mining company Caterpillar fell 2.20 dollars, or 2.2%, to 96.79 dollars and construction and technical services company Jacobs Engineering dipped 98 cents, or 1.6%, to 59.38 dollars.

Construction materials company Vulcan skidded 3.63 dollars, or 2.7%, to 130.73 dollars and chemicals maker DuPont dropped 1.70 dollars, or 2.2%, to 76 dollars.

The day's largest losses went to energy companies, which have surged over the last year as the price of oil recovered from a deep drop. Chevron retreated 1.97 dollars, or 1.7%, to 111.82 dollars, and ConocoPhillips fell 1.95 dollars, or 3.9%, to 47.48 dollars.

US crude oil slid 54 cents, or 1%, to 52.63 dollars a barrel in New York. Brent crude, the benchmark for international oil prices, fell 29 cents to 55.23 dollars a barrel in London.

Rite Aid plunged after Walgreens said it will cut the price it is paying to buy its rival to no more than 7 dollars per share from 9 dollars. That came after the companies said they will sell more of Rite Aid's stores to get antitrust regulators to approve the deal.

Walgreens said it may have to sell up to 1,200 Rite Aid stores, about a quarter of the company's total. Rite Aid sank 1.21 dollars, or 17.5%, to 5.72 dollars. Walgreens edged down 2 cents to 81.48 dollars.

Mattress maker Tempur Sealy hit a three-year low after it said retailer Mattress Firm is moving to terminate its supply contracts with the company.

Tempur Sealy said Mattress Firm wanted to make big changes to supply agreements and the two sides were not able to reach a compromise. It expects the two companies to stop doing business during the first quarter.

Tempur Sealy said it made 21% of its net sales last year to Mattress Firm. Its stock fell 17.70 dollars, or 28%, to 45.49 dollars.

Fitness tracker maker Fitbit dropped 1.15 dollars, or 16%, to 6.06 dollars after the company posted weak fourth-quarter sales and said it will eliminate about 6% of its jobs, or about 110 positions.

Bond prices slipped - the yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 2.49% from 2.48%.

The dollar fell to 113.67 yen from 115.09 yen. The euro dipped to 1.0695 dollars from 1.0698.

In other energy trading, natural gas futures fell 13 cents, or 3.8%, to 3.23 dollars per 1,000 cubic feet. Wholesale gasoline lost 2 cents to 1.51 dollars a gallon. Heating oil dipped 1 cent to 1.61 dollars a gallon.

The price of gold rose 4.80 dollars to 1,193.20 dollars an ounce. Silver added 2 cents to 17.15 dollars an ounce. Copper lost 3 cents, or 1.3%, to 2.66 dollars a pound.


Press Association

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