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Stocks Tumble to Worst Loss in 3 Months08/17 15:57

   U.S. stocks plunged Thursday as losses for Cisco Systems hurt technology 
companies while Wal-Mart declined after its latest quarterly report.

   NEW YORK (AP) -- U.S. stocks plunged Thursday as losses for Cisco Systems 
hurt technology companies while Wal-Mart declined after its latest quarterly 
report. Banks also dropped as bond yields and interest rates sank for a second 
day.

   It was the second-worst day for stocks this year, which has seen few large 
declines. Along with technology companies and retailers, transportation 
companies skidded and all of the industrial, financial and basic materials 
companies in the S&P 500 fell. Those sectors tend to struggle when investors 
are concerned about economic growth, although there weren't any specific signs 
of economic trouble Thursday.

   The Standard & Poor's 500 index dropped 38.10 points, or 1.5 percent, to 
2,430.01, its lowest close since July 11. The Dow Jones industrial average 
tumbled 274.14 points, or 1.2 percent, to 21,750.73. The Nasdaq composite sank 
123.19 points, or 1.9 percent, to 6,221.91. The Russell 2000 index of 
smaller-company stocks fell 24.59 points, or 1.8 percent, to 1,358.94.

   High-dividend stocks like utilities and real estate companies fared slightly 
better than the rest of the market, although they still finished lower. About 
95 percent of the companies in the S&P 500 finished with losses.

   Bill Northey, chief investment officer at U.S. Bank Wealth Management, said 
that minutes released Wednesday from the Federal Reserve's policy meeting last 
month marked "a little bit of a change in tone," and suggested that the central 
bank is becoming more cautious about raising interest rates.

   That helped push long-term interest rates in the bond market lower since 
then. Lower bond yields tend to hurt banks, because it prevents them from 
charging higher rates on loans, and benefits high-dividend stocks.

   Investors were also assessing the state of President Donald Trump's 
business-friendly agenda as he continues to face criticism over his comments 
after the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, over the weekend. After he was 
elected, investors hoped his proposals for tax cuts and infrastructure spending 
would boost corporate profits.

   "Most of the agenda ... has been a little bit distracted by non-economic 
factors," said Northey.

   Investors also looked for safer investments after a deadly van attack in 
Barcelona that killed at least 12 people and injured 80.

   Cisco Systems fell $1.30, or 4 percent, to $31.04 after it said sales will 
decline in the current quarter. It's expecting a decline of 1 to 3 percent from 
the $12.4 billion in revenue it reported a year ago.

   Data storage company NetApp offered a forecast for the current quarter that 
disappointed investors. Its stock lost $2.85, or 6.7 percent, to $39.56. It had 
a lot of company. Apple retreated $3.08, or 1.9 percent, to $157.87 while 
software maker Adobe Systems skidded $3.57, or 2.4 percent, to $148.23 and 
chipmaker Texas Instruments fell $2.31, or 2.8 percent, to $80.15.

   Wal-Mart did better than analysts expected in the second quarter as shoppers 
spent more money on its website and more people came to its stores. But that 
wasn't enough to sustain a recent rally in the company's stock, and its shares 
lost $1.28, or 1.6 percent, to $79.70.

   L Brands, the parent of Victoria's Secret, tumbled after it cut its annual 
profit forecast because of weakening sales. The stock retreated $1.40, or 3.6 
percent, to $37.55, and it's down 43 percent this year as retailers slump 
overall and the company struggles after it decided to stop selling swimwear.

   Elsewhere, Amazon fell $17.61, or 1.8 percent, to $960.57 and Macy's lost 52 
cents, or 2.6 percent, to $19.62.

   Despite some shaky reports Thursday, it's been another strong quarter of 
corporate earnings. Per-share profits for S&P 500 companies have grown almost 
11 percent in the second quarter versus the same period a year ago. Profits for 
energy companies have quadrupled because the price of oil has stabilized, and 
technology companies have also posted big gains. Consumer-focused companies 
have made smaller gains.

   Analysts, including U.S. Bank's Northey, mostly expect the stock market to 
keep rising as long as company profits keep growing.

   The only bigger loss for stocks this year came on May 17. At that time, 
investors were concerned that Trump's pro-business agenda might be affected by 
allegations he asked the FBI to drop an investigation into former National 
Security Adviser Michael Flynn.

   Bond prices rose. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 2.19 
percent from 2.23 percent. The yield on the 2-year note fell to 1.29 percent 
from 1.33 percent.

   Benchmark U.S. crude rose 31 cents to $47.09 a barrel in New York. Brent 
crude, used to price international oils, added 76 cents, or 1.5 percent, to 
$51.03 a barrel in London.

   Wholesale gasoline added 2 cents to $1.59 per gallon. Heating oil picked up 
1 cent to $1.58 a gallon. Natural gas gained 4 cents to $2.93 per 1,000 cubic 
feet.

   Gold rose $9.50 to $1,292.40 an ounce. Silver added 11 cents to $17.05 an 
ounce. Copper lost 2 cents to $2.94 a pound.

   The dollar dipped to 109.67 yen from 110.16 yen. The euro fell to $1.1742 
from $1.1769.

   Germany's DAX fell 0.5 percent and the CAC 40 of France shed 0.6 percent. 
Britain's FTSE 100 also gave up 0.6 percent. The Japanese Nikkei 225 index 
edged 0.1 percent lower and Hong Kong's Hang Seng dropped 0.2 percent. In South 
Korea, the Kospi gained 0.6 percent.


(BE)

 
 
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