U.S. stocks fell Wednesday morning after a weak finish the day before, with energy and industrial companies taking some of the worst losses. Shareholders are concerned about the European economy after a measure of business activity fell to an 18-month low in May. Target slid after big investments in its operations cut into its first-quarter profit while jewelry company Tiffany is climbed after a strong report.
KEEPING SCORE: The Standard & Poor’s 500 index shed 10 points, or 0.4%, to 2,713 as of 10 a.m. Eastern time. The Dow Jones industrial average slid 101 points, or 0.4%, to 24,733 as industrial companies 3M and Caterpillar both fell about 1%. The Nasdaq composite gave up 28 points, or 0.4%, to 7,349. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks edged up 1 point to 1,626.
Stocks were higher most of the day Tuesday but slipped late in the day.
EUROPE’S ECONOMY: A survey suggested that the eurozone’s economy might remain weak for longer than experts had predictable. IHS Markit’s purchasing managers’ index, a broad gauge of business activity, fell to an 18-month low in May. The regional economy is still growing, but shareholders had hoped to see a rebound after the first quarter of the year.
Germany’s DAX slid 1.6%, France’s CAC 40 fell 1.3%, and the British FTSE 100 lost 0.7%.
BONDS: Bond prices climbed. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 3.02% from 3.06%. With interest rates in decline, bank stocks lost ground. Citigroup fell 1% to $70.40 and Bank of America slipped 0.7% to $30.69.
Bank stocks climbed Tuesday as Congress prepared to vote on a bill easing some of the regulations passed after the 2008 financial crisis. The legislation passed the House on Tuesday evening, and President Trump is predictable to sign it into law.
RETAIL DETAILS: Target slumped 5.1% to $71.56 after its first-quarter profit fell short of expectations. The big-box retailer said more customers went to its stores and sales improved, but it’s spending a lot of money to try to reinvent itself to better compete with Amazon. Target plans to spend $7 billion through 2020 to update stores and open smaller locations in urban markets.
Tiffany sparkled in the first quarter as the jewelry company’s earnings and sales blew past Wall Street projections. The company also said it’s planning to buy back $1 billion in its own stock. The shares jumped 14.4% to $116.95.
Home improvement retailer Lowe’s had a mostly disappointing first quarter as harsh winter weather cut into the traditional spring sales season, but the company forecast stronger sales growth for the rest of the year. Its stock surged 7.3% to $91.98, more than recouping its losses from the day before.
Apparel retailer Urban Outfitters also climbed 2.7% to $42.31 following its report.
CABLE HOOKUP: Comcast said it is preparing an all-cash offer for 21st Century Fox’s entertainment and international divisions, and said it plans to bid more than the $52.4 billion that Disney offered. Comcast didn’t disclose other details about its plans. Fox shares rose 0.6% to $38.41 while Comcast fell 2% to $31.86, and Disney slid 1.3% to $102.70.
Buying those Fox businesses would assist Disney compete with technology companies in the entertainment business. Any tie-up would put in its stable more Marvel superheroes, in addition to the studios that produced “The Simpsons,” “Modern Family” and the Avatar movies.
NOT WELL DONE: Red Robin Gourmet Burgers tumbled 17.5% to $47.80 after the company’s quarterly profit was much smaller than analysts anticipated. Its sales also fell short of estimates.
ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude fell 0.4% to $71.93 per barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, fell 0.6% to $79.06 a barrel in London.
CURRENCIES: The dollar dropped to 110.10 yen from 111.02 yen. The euro fell to $1.1717 from $1.1779.
ASIA: Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 fell 1.2%. South Korea’s Kospi gained 0.3%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng lost 1.8%.