U.S. stocks slipped Tuesday morning as investors continued to sell phone company and utility stocks. Materials companies are the exception, as they’re trading higher as the dollar weakens. Investors are also sifting through reports that showed inflation remained weak in July, but home building and factory production improved.
KEEPING SCORE: The Dow Jones industrial average lost 38 points, or 0.2 percent, to 18,598 as of 10:26 a.m. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index slid 7 points, or 0.3 percent, to 2,183. The Nasdaq composite fell 20 points, or 0.4 percent, to 5,242.
CONSUMER PRICES: The Labor Department said prices paid by consumers were unchanged in July as gas and other energy prices kept inflation down. Core inflation, which leaves out food and fuel prices, inched up just 0.1 percent for the month. Overall, inflation is up just 0.8 percent over the last year. That’s far below the 2-percent target set by the Federal Reserve.
CURRENCIES: Bond prices dipped and the yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 1.58 percent from 1.56 percent. The dollar fell to 100.38 yen from 101.25 yen. The euro rose to $1.1271 from $1.1183. The weakening dollar continued to boost materials companies Tuesday, with packaging maker WestRock up $1.05, or 2.4 percent, to $45.05.
Industrial gas company Praxair got a boost following reports it’s in talks with Germany’s Linde about a possible deal. Its stock rose $6.74, or 5.7 percent, to $124.77.
STEEP LOSS: Tea maker Hain Celestial Group delayed its quarterly report because of accounting issues and said it doesn’t expect to reach its financial projections for the year. The stock tumbled $14.63, or 27.4 percent, to $38.78.
SUIT UP: Uniform maker Cintas said it will buy G&K Services, a uniform and facility services maker, for $97.50 a share, or $1.93 billion. Cintas stock gained $7.22, or 6.7 percent, to $114.64 and G&K Services advanced $14.71, or 17.9 percent, to $96.84.
AIG DEAL: Insurer American International Group said it will sell its United Guaranty mortgage insurance unit to Arch Capital for $3.4 billion in cash and stock. AIG has been streamlining its business and said early this year that it would spin off United Guaranty. Its stock dipped 5 cents to $59.17.
FIXER-UPPER: Home improvement retailer Home Depot posted strong results and raised its annual estimates as it continued to resist the troubles that have affected many other retailers. Americans have been spending more money on their homes or putting personal touches on new ones even though other retail spending has been weak. Home Depot stock gained $1.44, or 1.1 percent, to $138.50.
HOME SWEET HOME: The Commerce Department said the rate of home construction grew 2.1 percent in July, mostly because of an increase in apartment construction. It was the strongest pace of new home starts since February.
FACTORY FACTS: The Federal Reserve said U.S. factories cranked out more autos, machinery and chemicals in July. Factory output rose 0.5 percent. Overall industrial production, which includes utilities and mining, grew 0.7 percent as people used more air conditioning in response to hot weather. The results suggest manufacturing might be recovering from a series of challenges that have held them back, including the strong dollar, slower overseas growth and low oil prices. Still, factory output is just 0.2 percent higher than it was a year ago and manufacturers aren’t adding many jobs.
GAME ON: Dick’s Sporting Goods announced better-than-expected quarterly results and raised its projections for the year. Its stock jumped $4.11, or 7.5 percent, to $59.
OIL: Benchmark U.S. crude added 6 cents at $45.80 per barrel in New York. Brent crude, a benchmark used to price international oils, fell 5 cents to $48.32 a barrel in London.
OVERSEAS: Britain’s FTSE 100 fell 0.4 percent and the CAC 40 in France shed 0.5 percent. Germany’s DAX fell 0.4 percent. Japan’s Nikkei 225 fell 1.6 percent as the yen gained against the U.S. dollar. South Korea’s Kospi eked out a 0.1 percent loss and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index was down 0.1 percent.
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