Benchmark U.S. crude gained 46 cents to $52.95 a barrel in New York
. U.S. stocks are lower Thursday morning as health care companies take more losses. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan), photo: AP/Mark Lennihan
22 of December 2016 19:00:01
Retailers took losses Thursday and pulled U.S. stocks lower in another day of mild trading before the holidays.Bed Bath & Beyond was pummeled after the home goods retailer reported weak results, and investors also dumped companies like Target, Staples and Dollar Tree. Chinese e-commerce company Alibaba fell after it was sanctioned by the U.S. government, while companies linked to investor Carl Icahn climbed after the billionaire was named as a future adviser to President-elect Donald Trump.Quincy Krosby, a markets strategist for Prudential Financial, said investors were concerned about the weak earnings for Bed Bath & Beyond and about the jump in interest rates since the election."When you have interest rates rising, at least initially, it tends to take a little bit from the discretionary [companies] because credit card payments move higher," she said.The Dow Jones industrial average shed 23.08 points, or 0.1 percent, to 19,918.88. The Standard & Poor's 500 index lost 4.22 points, or 0.2 percent, to 2,260.96. The Nasdaq composite dipped 24.01 points, or 0.4 percent, to 5,447.42. The Russell 2000 index of small-company stocks sank 12.53 points, or 0.9 percent, to 1,362.66.With the year-end holidays approaching, trading remained light.A second day of losses pulled the Dow further from the 20,000 mark. It first reached 19,000 a month ago.After it reported a far smaller profit and weaker sales than analysts expected, Bed Bath & Beyond dropped $4.18, or 9.2 percent, to $41.38. That wiped out most of the gains the company has made during the post-election rally. The SPDR S&P 500 retail ETF lost 3.5 percent.Alibaba fell after the U.S. government put the Chinese e-commerce company back on a list of marketplaces that sell large amounts of counterfeit goods and is slow to respond when companies complain about knockoffs. Chinese regulators have made similar criticisms. Alibaba's U.S.-listed stock lost $2.45, or 2.7 percent, to $86.80.Several companies linked to Carl Icahn surged after the billionaire investor was named as an adviser to Trump on regulatory reform issues. Icahn says he wants to cut business regulations. He is close to Trump and advised him during the presidential campaign, and that's given some of his companies a large boost.Icahn Enterprises rose $4.38, or 7.6 percent, to $62.30 and refining company CVR Energy added $2.25, or 10.5 percent, to $23.69. Icahn owns 82 percent of the voting power in CVR Energy. Icahn Enterprises has climbed 30 percent since the presidential election, and CVR Energy has climbed 85 percent.Open-source software company Red Hat sank after it reported disappointing revenue in the third quarter. Its fourth-quarter sales projections were also lower than analysts expected. Red Hat lost $11.08, or 13.9 percent, to $68.71, its biggest one-day loss in 10 years. Other technology companies like Facebook and Yahoo also fell.Teva Pharmaceutical Industries, the world's largest generic drug maker, rose after it agreed to settle an investigation into possible bribes paid to foreign governments. The Israeli company will pay $519 million and its Russian business will plead guilty to criminal charges. The inquiry also involved Teva's businesses in Ukraine and Mexico. Teva said it replaced the leadership of its Russian division after the investigation began.The stock added 54 cents, or 1.5 percent, to $36.91. Teva said in October that it was setting aside $520 million for a possible settlement, and investors are often pleased when companies settle investigations because the deals remove uncertainty and help the companies put their problems behind them.Chocolate maker Hershey rose after it named Michele Buck as its next president and CEO. She is currently Hershey's chief operating officer. Hershey stock added $1.27, or 1.2 percent, to $104.44.Benchmark U.S. crude gained 46 cents to $52.95 a barrel in New York and Brent crude, the international standard, rose 59 cents, or 1.1 percent, to $55.05 a barrel in London. That sent energy companies higher.In other energy trading, wholesale gasoline remained at $1.60 a gallon. Heating oil added 2 cents to $1.66 a gallon. Natural gas stayed at $3.54 per 1,000 cubic feet.Bond prices fell. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note climbed to 2.55 percent from 2.54 percent.Gold fell $2.50 to $1,130.70 an ounce and continued to trade around its lowest price since the beginning of February. Silver lost 11 cents to $15.87 an ounce. Copper held steady at $2.50 a pound.The dollar inched up to 117.60 yen from 117.54 yen. The euro rose to $1.0433 from $1.0427.Stocks in Europe were also quiet. The DAX in Germany lost 0.1 percent and Britain's FTSE 100 added 0.3 percent. In France, the CAC-40 was little changed. Japan's Nikkei 225 index edged 0.1 percent lower and the Hang Seng in Hong Kong lost 0.8 percent. The South Korean Kospi fell 0.1 percent.