U.S. stock indexes edged mostly lower in early trading Wednesday, with utilities declining the most. Real estate and financial stocks also fell. Banks were also down as bond yields fell. Consumer goods companies were the biggest gainers. Investors had their eye on the latest company earnings and outlooks. Oil prices headed higher.
KEEPING SCORE: The Dow Jones industrial average rose 38 points, or 0.2 percent, to 20,589 as of 10:26 a.m. Eastern Time. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index added 3 points, or 0.2 percent, to 2,345. The Nasdaq composite index gained 4 points, or 0.1 percent, to 5,844. The Dow has fallen for eight days in a row, its longest losing streak in more than five years.
WELL BUILT: RH, formerly Restoration Hardware, climbed 12.7 percent a day after the home furnishings and decor retailer reported stronger earnings. It added $4.81 to $42.81.
DEAL TIME: Exar surged 22.6 percent after MaxLinear agreed to buy the chipmaker for $13 per share, or $662 million. Shares in Exar gained $2.41 to $13.03. MaxLinear rose $1.11, or 4.2 percent, to $27.62.
STRONG QUARTER: Verint Systems jumped 8.5 percent after the software company reported better-than-expected quarterly results. Verint also said during a management conference call with analysts that it is possible that at some point it will split itself into two businesses, but noted it has no plans now to do that. Verint shares rose $3.35 to $42.90.
BAD MEDICINE: Depomed slid 2.3 percent after the drugmaker issued disappointing first-quarter sales guidance and replaced its CEO and two board members to resolve a dispute with investment firm Starboard Value. The stock dipped 33 cents to $13.90.
MARKETS OVERSEAS: In Europe, Germany’s DAX climbed 0.4 percent, while France’s CAC 40 added 0.1 percent. Britain’s FTSE 100 was up 0.1 percent as Britain triggered the start of its exit from the European Union, a formal step that kicks off two years of negotiations that will have wide-ranging consequences for business in the region. Earlier in Asia, Tokyo’s benchmark Nikkei 225 index edged up 0.1 percent. South Korea’s Kospi rose 0.2 percent. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng added 0.2 percent. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 rose 0.9 percent to 5,873.50.
CURRENCIES: The dollar strengthened to 110.93 yen from 111.09 yen. The euro fell to $1.0755 from $1.0808.
ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude oil futures rose 19 cents to $48.56 a barrel in New York. The contract rose 64 cents on Tuesday. Brent crude, used to price international oils, climbed 29 cents to $51.71 a barrel in London.
TREASURY YIELDS: Bond prices edged higher. The 10-year Treasury yield fell to 2.40 percent from 2.42 percent.