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Stocks Slip After Weak Economic Data   05/23 12:56

   U.S. stocks are lower in wobbly trading Wednesday as banks drop along with 
bond yields.

   NEW YORK (AP) -- U.S. stocks are lower in wobbly trading Wednesday as banks 
drop along with bond yields. Energy and industrial companies are also down. 
Investors are concerned about the European economy after a measure of business 
activity in the region fell to an 18-month low in May. Target is sliding after 
big investments in its operations cut into its first-quarter profit while 
Tiffany is soaring after issuing a strong report.

   KEEPING SCORE: The S&P 500 index shed 8 points, or 0.3 percent, to 2,716 as 
of 1:30 p.m. Eastern time. The Dow Jones industrial average slid 115 points, or 
0.5 percent, to 24,719 as Goldman Sachs and American Express both took losses. 
The Nasdaq composite gave up 8 points, or 0.1 percent, to 7,369. The Russell 
2000 index of smaller-company stocks dipped 3 points, or 0.2 percent, to 1,622.

   Stocks were higher for most of the Tuesday but slipped late in the day.

   EUROPE'S ECONOMY: A survey suggested that the eurozone's economy might 
remain weak for longer than experts had expected. IHS Markit's purchasing 
managers' index, a broad gauge of business activity, fell to an 18-month low in 
May. The regional economy is still growing, but investors hoped to see a 
rebound after the first quarter of the year.

   Germany's DAX gave up 1.5 percent and France's CAC 40 fell 1.3 percent while 
the British FTSE 100 lost 1.1 percent. Investors bought European government 
bonds, pushing prices higher and yields lower in Germany, Spain, France and the 
U.K.

   BONDS: Bond prices climbed. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 
3.03 percent from 3.06 percent. With interest rates in decline, banks lost 
ground. Citigroup fell 1.8 percent to $69.83 and Bank of American lost 1.7 
percent to $30.36.

   Banks climbed Tuesday as Congress prepared to vote on a bill that eased some 
of the regulations passed after the 2008 financial crisis. The legislation 
passed the House Tuesday evening and President Donald Trump is expected to sign 
it into law. Real estate investment trusts, utilities, and other stocks that 
pay large dividends rose. Those stocks are often considered alternatives to 
bonds, and investors who want income often buy them when bond yields decrease.

   RETAIL DETAILS: Target slumped after its first-quarter profit fell short of 
expectations. The big box retailer said more customers came to its stores and 
sales improved, but it's spending a lot of money to try to reinvent itself to 
better compete with Amazon. Target plans to spend $7 billion through 2020 to 
update stores and open smaller locations in urban markets. The stock sank 5.5 
percent to $71.35.

   Tiffany sparkled in the first quarter as the jewelry company's earnings and 
sales blew past Wall Street projections. The company also said it's planning to 
buy back $1 billion in its own stock. The stock jumped 20.1 percent to $122.83.

   Home improvement retailer Lowe's had a mostly disappointing first quarter as 
harsh winter weather cut into the traditional spring sales season, but the 
company forecast stronger sales growth for the rest of the year. The stock 
surged 10 percent to $94.35. Lowe's stock and its sales have lagged behind Home 
Depot, but it made up ground on Wednesday.

   Also rising after its quarterly report was Ralph Lauren, which jumped 15.6 
percent to $134.79.

   CABLE HOOKUP: Comcast said it is preparing an all-cash offer for 
Twenty-First Century Fox's entertainment and international divisions, and said 
it plans to bid more than the $52.4 billion Disney offered. Comcast didn't 
disclose other details about its plans. Fox rose 2.3 percent to $39.02 while 
Comcast fell 2.1 percent to $31.83, and Disney slid 1.1 percent to $102.94.

   Buying those Fox businesses would help Disney compete with technology 
companies in the entertainment business. Any tie-up would put in its stable 
more Marvel superheros, as well as the studios that produced the Avatar movies, 
"The Simpsons" and "Modern Family."

   NOT WELL DONE: Red Robin Gourmet Burgers tumbled after the company's 
quarterly profit was much smaller than analysts anticipated. Its sales also 
fell short of estimates and the stock tumbled 19.5 percent to $46.63.

   UN-PACKED: While Hewlett Packard Enterprise reported a larger profit and 
more revenue than expected, analysts said much of the company's strength came 
from a lower tax rate, and they weren't impressed by results from some of its 
businesses. Mehdi Hosseini of Susquehanna Financial Group said the company's 
less profitable products are doing better than higher margin items like high 
performance computing devices. The stock lost 11.2 percent to $15.47.

   ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude lost 0.7 percent to $71.67 per barrel in New 
York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, dropped 0.4 percent to 
$79.26 a barrel in London.

   CURRENCIES: The dollar dropped to 110.27 yen from 111.02 yen. The euro fell 
to $1.1682 from $1.1779.

   METALS: Gold lost 0.2 percent to $1,289.60 an ounce. Silver fell 1 percent 
to $16.41 an ounce. Copper plunged 2 percent to $3.07 a pound.

   ASIA: Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 fell 1.2 percent and South Korea's Kospi 
gained 0.3 percent. Hong Kong's Hang Seng lost 1.8 percent.


(BE)

 
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