US stocks slip after post-election surge; oil falls again
Stocks have surged over the past week as the market recovered from its October swoon, and they jumped a day ago following the U.S. midterm elections.
KEEPING SCORE: The S&P 500 index shed 13 points, or 0.5 percent, to 2,800 as of 3 p.m. Eastern time. The S&P 500 jumped 2.1 percent Wednesday. That was its sixth gain in the last seven trading days, a rally that’s helped stocks make up a lot of the ground they lost in October.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 59 points, or 0.2 percent, to 26,120. The Nasdaq composite dipped 59 points, or 0.8 percent, to 7,511 after it surged 2.6 percent a day earlier. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks slipped 7 points, or 0.5 percent, to 1,574.
Stocks climbed Wednesday after the midterm elections generally went the way investors thought they would. The Democrats took control of the House of Representatives while the Republicans held on to a majority in the Senate. That means that politics appears that much less likely to crowd out the performance of the strong U.S. economy. A Federal Reserve meeting ending Thursday is not expected to result in an interest rate hike.
COMM ON: Chipmaker Qualcomm had a stronger-than-expected fourth quarter, but investors were startled by its forecasts for the current period. It’s projecting revenue of $4.5 billion to $5.3 billion, far below the $5.6 billion analysts expected, according to FactSet. Its stock lost 8.2 percent to $58.04.
Apple stopped making royalty payments to Qualcomm following a dispute between the companies, and later decided to stop using Qualcomm modems in some of its products. Qualcomm said both of those changes have hurt its results.
BONDS: Bond prices were steady. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note remained at 3.23 percent. The Federal Reserve left interest rates where they are, but suggested it plans to keep raising rates in response to the strong U.S. economy. The Fed has raised its key rate eight times since late 2015 and is expected to do so again in December, with several more increases to follow.
Banks made small gains as long-term interest rates remained near highest levels of this year. High-dividend stocks fell. Southern Co. lost 0.9 percent to $46.58 and timberland real estate owner Weyerhauser dipped 1.4 percent to $27.12. Those stocks climbed in October as the rest of the market dropped because investors consider them safe options, but they’ve faded recently as stocks stabilized and high-growth companies started to do better.
THE QUOTE: Stocks started sinking last month because investors worried that the Fed was going to raise interest rates to the point they slowed down economic growth. But John Lynch, chief investment strategist at LPL Research, said he doesn’t think that’s going to happen and that the Fed will stop raising rates in 2019.
“We do not believe they will be as aggressive as many fear,” he said. “We still don’t have anything approaching the wage pressures that have historically scared the Fed.”
The Fed has been raising rates so it can prevent inflation from getting out of hand. Lynch said that inflation isn’t going to get much stronger because wages aren’t going to grow much faster than they currently are. He said factors like the retirement of more Baby Boomers, global competition, and slower economic growth in the U.S. will all limit increases in pay.
HOME WRECKED: D.R. Horton, one of the largest homebuilders, fell 9 percent to $34.23 after its earnings and sales fell short of Wall Street forecasts. The company said rising home prices and mortgage rates are affecting demand. That exact combination has been weighing on home sales and the stocks all year. PulteGroup fell 3.6 percent to $24.19 and Lennar lost 2.3 percent to $41.99.
WYNN LOSES: Wynn Resorts dropped 12.3 percent to $100.01 after the casino operator said its business in Macau has slowed down recently.
ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude oil fell 1.6 percent to $60.67 a barrel in New York, and Brent crude lost 2 percent to $70.65 a barrel in London.
U.S. crude oil has fallen 20 percent since early October, when it traded at its highest price in almost four years. Government fuel stockpiles have expanded and the U.S. issued waivers to a number of countries that allow them to continue importing oil from Iran in spite of renewed sanctions on that country.
Wholesale gasoline was little changed at $1.64 a gallon. Heating oil dropped 3.1 percent to $2.17 a gallon. Natural gas edged down to $3.54 per 1,000 cubic feet.
METAL: Gold fell 0.3 percent to $1,225.10 an ounce. Silver lost 1 percent to $14.42 an ounce. Copper slipped 0.7 percent to $2.74 a pound.
CURRENCIES: The dollar rose to 113.96 yen from 113.34 yen. The euro fell to $1.1363 from $1.1455.
OVERSEAS: Germany’s DAX lost 0.4 percent and the British FTSE 100 picked up 0.3 percent. The CAC 40 in France was 0.1 percent lower.
The Japanese Nikkei 225 rallied 1.8 percent and South Korea’s Kospi rose 0.7 percent. In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng added 0.3 percent.