U.S. stocks are posting modest declines in early trading Tuesday, but Apple led technology companies higher after announcing an update to its iPad. Health care companies rose, but packaged food companies and airlines skidded.
KEEPING SCORE: The Standard & Poor’s 500 index fell 2 points, or 0.1 percent, to 2,370 as of 10:15 a.m. Eastern time. The Dow Jones industrial average fell 13 points, or 0.1 percent, to 20,892. The Nasdaq composite slipped 6 points, or 0.1 percent, to 5,895. The Russell 2000 index of small-company stocks lost 7 points, or 0.6 percent, to 1,376. More stocks fell than rose on the New York Stock Exchange.
TECH CLIMBING: Several big technology stocks were rising. Apple added $1.08 to $142.54 after it said it will start taking orders for its updated iPad on Friday. Elsewhere Facebook picked up $1.87, or 1.3 percent, to $141.81 and Motorola rose $1.66, or 2 percent, to $85.96.
Health care companies also did well. Drugmaker Eli Lilly picked up 69 cents to $84.75 and drug and medical device maker Baxter International gained 38 cents to $51.57.
TAKEOFF DELAYED: Airlines dipped after the U.S. government said it will bar passengers on nonstop, U.S.-bound flights from eight mostly Middle Eastern and North African countries from bringing laptops, tablets and other devices on board in carry-on bags. It cited unspecified threats. While the rule only affects carriers from those countries and not U.S. airlines, the stocks slipped as investors wondered about further disruptions to U.S. flights and travel. Delta lost 62 cents, or 1.3 percent, to $46.23 and American skidded 39 cents to $41.31.
SOGGY CEREAL: Food companies fell after General Mills posted a better-than-expected profit but weaker sales. The Cheerios maker faces more competitive pricing and a market that has been shifting demand from processed foods. Its stock added 5 cents to $60.31, but J.M. Smucker lost $2.56, or 1.9 percent, to $135.94 and Kellogg shed 92 cents, or 1.2 percent, to $74.06. Campbell Soup gave up $1.30, or 2.2 percent, to $57.70.
ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude rose 27 cents to $48.49 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, rose 16 cents to $51.79 a barrel in London.
BONDS: Bond prices held steady. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note stayed at 2.46 percent.
CURRENCIES: The dollar slipped to 112.38 yen from 112.58 yen. The euro rose to $1.0818 from $1.0733.
OVERSEAS: France’s CAC 40 added 0.4 percent following a debate between the nation’s candidates for president. The first round of national elections is a month away. The DAX of Germany gained 0.1 percent. The British FTSE 100 edged 0.1 percent lower. Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 slipped 0.3 percent. The Kospi in South Korea rose 1 percent and in Hong Kong the Hang Seng rose 0.4 percent.