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US stocks retreat as banks, mining companies fall

U.S. stocks are falling Thursday morning and returning some of their recent gains. Banks are skidding as bond yields fall. Energy companies are slipping with the price of oil and metals companies are also down.

KEEPING SCORE: The Dow Jones industrial average slid 60 points, or 0.3 percent, to 17,945 as of 10:45 a.m. Eastern time. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index lost 8 points, or 0.4 percent, to 2,111. The Nasdaq composite declined 15 points, or 0.3 percent, to 4,959. Over the last few days the S&P 500 has reached its highest levels since last July and oil prices have done the same. The Nasdaq is near its highs for 2016.

BANKS BONK: Bond prices rose, sending the yield on the 10-year U.S. Treasury note down to 1.66 percent from 1.70 percent a day earlier. Bond yields are linked to interest rates on loans, so the lower yields hurt financial companies. Bank of America gave up 30 cents, or 2.1 percent, to $14.13 and Capital One fell $1.89, or 2.6 percent, to $70.21.

METAL MISERY: Mining companies also weakened. Copper and gold producer Freeport-McMoRan fell 72 cents, or 6.3 percent, to $10.86 and aluminum company Alcoa slid 32 cents, or 3.2 percent, to $9.57.

OIL: U.S. crude shed 70 cents, or 1.4 percent, to $50.53 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, the benchmark for international oil prices, fell 70 cents, or 1.3 percent, to $51.81 a barrel in London. ConocoPhillips lost 77 cents, or 1.6 percent, to $46.73 and Transocean gave up 34 cents, or 2.9 percent, to $11.19.

POWERING UP: Utilities made modest gains as bond yields fell. Utilities are seen as similar to bonds because they pay large dividends, so the bond yields make them more appealing by comparison. Southern picked up 36 cents to $50.73 and Ameren advanced 56 cents, or 1.1 percent, to $50.24.

ECB WARNING: The president of the European Central Bank warned in a speech Thursday that the eurozone economy needs governments to make more reforms if it is to see higher growth. Mario Draghi noted the central bank could not heal the economy on its own.

HARD TIMES FOR HARDWARE: Home furnishings retailer Restoration Hardware cut its forecast for the year after it reported weak quarterly results. The company said it’s facing weaker sales of luxury goods. Its stock lost $7.44, or 20.6 percent, to $28.63.

LET’S JAM: J.M. Smucker climbed after it reported strong fourth-quarter sales of coffee products and pet foods. The company also gave an optimistic profit forecast for the current fiscal year. Its stock added $9.23, or 7 percent, to $141.94.

FLYING HIGH: Airlines traded higher as oil prices drop, potentially reducing fuel costs. American Airlines added 76 cents, or 2.3 percent, to $33.27 and United Continental rose 90 cents, or 2 percent, to $46.59.

OVERSEAS: Germany’s DAX fell 1.2 percent and Britain’s FTSE 100 slid 1 percent. France’s CAC 40 lost 0.8 percent. Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 shed 1 percent after the government reported that domestic and foreign private machinery orders fell in April from the month before, which suggests capital investment remains weak. South Korea’s KOSPI was 0.1 percent lower.

CURRENCIES: The dollar fell to 106.44 yen from 106.94 yen on Wednesday. The euro dropped to $1.1312 from $1.1397.

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