Rise in oil prices lifts US stocks

NEW YORK (AP)—U.S. stock indexes are a bit higher Wednesday afternoon as energy companies are rallying with the price of oil. Consumer-focused companies are down following weak first-quarter reports from Priceline and Disney. Drugmakers and other health care companies are also down as a quiet week of trading continues.

Keeping score

The Standard & Poor’s 500 index picked up 1 point, or 0.1 percent, to 2,398 as of 12:43 p.m. Eastern time. The Dow Jones industrial average shed 17 points, or 0.1 percent, to 20,958 as Disney slumped. The Nasdaq composite remained at 6,121 after it set a record high Tuesday. The Russell 2000 index of small-company stocks was up 4 points, or 0.3 percent, to 1,396.

Oil

Benchmark U.S. crude surged $1.55, or 3.4 percent, to $47.43 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, the international standard, gained $1.5, or 3.1 percent, to $50.24 a barrel in London. That sent energy companies higher, as EOG Resources picked up $2.95, or 3.2 percent, to $94.59 and Chevron added $1.238, or 1.3 percent, to $106.46.

Oil prices started the day higher and made bigger gains after U.S. crude stockpiles shrank more than investors expected last week.

The price of U.S. crude has slumped 16 percent this year. The S&P 500’s energy sector has dropped 10 percent over the same period.

Mouse miss

Entertainment giant Walt Disney posted lower sales than investors expected and it said profit at its cable networks declined because of programming costs at ESPN remain high. Its stock fell $2.86, or 2.6 percent, to $109.21. Recently Disney stock suffered a five-day losing streak partly brought on by concerns about cable advertising revenue. The stock is trading at its lowest prices since January but is still up almost 5 percent this year.

Out of line

Revenue for online booking service Priceline was a bit lower than analysts expected and the company’s profit forecast for the current quarter was also disappointing. That sent the stock down $99.13, or 5.2 percent, to $1,812. Priceline has soared 44 percent over the last 12 months.

Yipes, Yelp

Online review website Yelp plunged after it slashed its revenue forecast for the year. That followed a disappointing first-quarter report, and analysts said the company struggled to retain customers. The stock sank $6.70, or 19.3 percent, to $28 to reach its lowest price in almost a year.

Watch out

Watchmaker Fossil tumbled after another weaker-than-expected quarterly report. The company said sales of traditional watches and other jewelry continued to fall. Fossil stock traded above $100 a share as recently as December 2014 is now trading at eight-year lows as it lost $4.09, or 22.5 percent, to $14.06.

Health care

Botox maker Allergan is on track for its biggest loss in 2017 as its stock fell for the fourth day in a row. It’s trading around three-month lows, down $8.80, or 3.7 percent, at $229.71. That helped take health care companies lower. Elsewhere biotechnology company Amgen lost $3.06, or 1.9 percent, to $160.16 and EpiPen maker Mylan declined 26 cents to $37.75.

Tech earnings

Video game maker Electronic Arts and chipmaker Nvidia both reported stronger results than analysts had expected. Electronic Arts, which makes games including “The Sims” and “Mass Effect,” rose $14.21, or 14.8 percent, to $110.22 and Nvidia advanced $16.34, or 15.9 percent, to $119.28. Nvidia shares have struggled in the last few months after they tripled in value in 2016, but they are once again near all-time highs.

Pretty picture

Beauty products maker Coty rallied after its profit and sales topped investor forecasts. The stock had lost about a third of its value over the last year but jumped $2.44, and 13.7 percent, to $20.27.

Stop the presses

Time, the publisher of Time and People magazines, disclosed a bigger loss and less revenue than Wall Street had expected as print and circulation revenue continued to fall. The company cut its quarterly dividend to 4 cents from 19 cents, saying it wants to use some of that money to reduce its debts. Its stock shed $2.10, or 13.9 percent, to $13.

Bonds

Bond prices rose. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 2.39 percent from 2.41 percent.

Currencies

The dollar fell to 114.04 yen from 114.28 yen. The euro rose to $1.0873 from $1.0869.

Overseas

In Britain, the FTSE 100 jumped 0.6 percent. Germany’s DAX rose 0.1 percent and the CAC 40 in France finished unchanged. The Japanese Nikkei 225 gained 0.3 percent and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index rose 0.5 percent. The Kospi of South Korea fell 1 percent.

 
 
 
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