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US indexes waver; travel companies sink following attacks

U.S. stock indexes wavered between gains and losses in morning trading Tuesday, recovering from an early decline following the deadly attacks in Belgium. Health care and materials stocks were among the biggest gainers, while airlines, cruise companies and travel booking sites lagged. European markets fell slightly.

KEEPING SCORE: The Dow Jones industrial average fell nine points, or 0.1 percent, to 17,614 as of 11:18 a.m. Eastern Time. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index rose less than one point to 2,051. The Nasdaq composite gained 10 points, or 0.2 percent, to 4,819.

THE QUOTE: “The only sector that appears to be truly suffering, naturally, is anything having to do with travel,” said J.J. Kinahan, TD Ameritrade’s chief strategist. “And even many of those have recovered from earlier levels.”

BRUSSELS ATTACKS: At least 31 people were killed on Tuesday when bombs struck the Brussels airport and one of the city’s metro stations. Belgium raised its terror alert to the highest level. Airports across Europe tightened security. Germany’s DAX was down 0.1 percent, while the CAC-40 in France was 0.4 percent lower. The FTSE 100 index of leading British shares was flat. Belgium’s BEL 20 index fell 0.1 percent.

STAYING PUT: Several travel-related companies fell as investors weighed the potential fallout from the Belgium attacks. Royal Caribbean Cruises fell $3.08, or 3.9 percent, to $75.15, while Carnival lost $1.52, or 3.1 percent, to $48.26. American Airlines Group shed 68 cents, or 1.6 percent, to $42.79. Delta Air Lines fell $1.05, or 2.1 percent, to $49.07.

ROUGH QUARTER: Clothing and accessories maker G-III Apparel Group slid 16.5 percent after it reported earnings and sales that fell short of Wall Street’s expectations. The stock lost $9.11 to $46.12.

LUMPY RESULTS: Mattress Firm dropped 14.6 percent after the bedding retailer also reported weak fourth-quarter results and forecast a smaller-than-expected annual profit. The stock shed $6.25 to $36.44.

STRONG OUTLOOK: Akorn surged 36.1 percent after the generic drugmaker reported preliminary 2015 financial results and have a strong profit forecast for this year. The stock gained $6.76 to $25.48.

ASIA’S DAY: Japan’s Nikkei 225 climbed 1.9 percent, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index shed early gains, sliding 0.1 percent. South Korea’s Kospi gained 0.4 percent, while Australia’s S&P ASX 200 edged up 0.1 percent.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude was down 4 cents to $41.49 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, the benchmark for international oils, was up 20 cents to $41.71 a barrel in London.

BONDS AND CURRENCIES: U.S. government bond prices rose. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 1.90 percent from 1.92 percent late Monday. The euro was down to $1.1230 from $1.1242, while the dollar fell to 111.74 yen from 112.08.

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