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MIDDAY UPDATE — Stocks skid as prices of oil and other commodities fall

U.S. stocks are skidding Thursday, weighed down by weakness in mining and energy companies as commodities prices fall. Stocks are heading for their sixth drop in seven days.

KEEPING SCORE: The Dow Jones industrial average sank 209 points, or 1.2 percent, to 17,492 as of 12:24 p.m. The Standard & Poor’s 500 lost 20 points, or 1 percent, to 2,054. The Nasdaq composite index fell 30 points, or 0.6 percent, to 5,036.

THE BIG PICTURE: October was the best month for the market in four years. The Dow remains down slightly for the year, however, and after a November slump, the S&P 500 is also slightly lower for 2015. The tech-heavy Nasdaq has done better, and is up 6 percent for the year.

METALS SLIDE: Prices for copper and other commodities are slumping as investors anticipate that the dollar will get even stronger. The price of silver has fallen for nine days in a row and is down 10 percent since late October. The price of copper fell 2 percent to $2.17 a pound. It’s down 22 percent this year, hitting six-year lows.

Copper producer Freeport-McMoRan dropped 59 cents, or 6.3 percent, to $8.72.

THE QUOTE: The central banks of Europe and Japan are both hinting that they will step up economic stimulus policies. That would make the dollar even stronger compared with the euro and yen.

On Thursday European Central Bank head Mario Draghi emphasized that the bank is willing to add more monetary stimulus to push inflation higher.

“Since November hit, the U.S. dollar has gone straight up and these commodities are getting smoked,” Ryan Detrick, a markets strategist at Kimble Charting Solutions, said.

OIL FALLING: The price of oil slipped again after the U.S. government said crude stockpiles grew by 4.2 million barrels last week. A private report released Wednesday had showed an even larger increase. U.S. crude has fallen five of the last six trading days.

U.S. benchmark crude fell $1.06, or 2.5 percent, to $41.87 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, which is used to price international oils, $1.10, or 2.4 percent, to $45.51 a barrel in London.

KOHL’S REBOUNDS: Retailer Kohl’s climbed $2.87, or 6.6 percent, to $46.03 after the company said strong sales in the back-to-school season and in late October boosted its results in the third quarter.

Kohl’s and other retailers tumbled Wednesday after a disappointing report from Macy’s. Kohl’s more than made up its losses, while competitors made partial recoveries.

LISTED: Angie’s List, which lets users research, shop for and rate home services like plumbers and home cleaners, agreed to be bought by IAC/InteractiveCorp for $512 million. IAC/InteractiveCorp owns websites including About.com and HomeAdvisor.com. Its offer values Angie’s List at $8.75 a share.

Angie’s List stock rose 93 cents, or 11.7 percent, to $8.85. The shares have doubled in value in recent months, but are down sharply from their level of $28 in 2013.

TAILS AREN’T WAGGING: Freshpet, which sells refrigerated fresh pet food, tumbled after reporting its third-quarter results. The company said growth in fridges was lower than it expected and manufacturing problems hurt its profits. Freshpet plunged $2.11, or 25.2 percent, to $6.26.

RETREAT: Advance Auto Parts said the strong dollar and integration costs hurt its profit. The auto parts retailer lowered its annual outlook and said CEO Darren Jackson will retire in January. The stock lost $25.96, or 13.3 percent, to $168.71.

BONDS: U.S. government bond prices rose. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 2.31 percent. The euro rose to $1.0801 from $1.0776. The yen slipped to $122.66 from 122.89.


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