NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks were mostly higher in afternoon trading Wednesday after setting records the last few days. Energy companies are dropping sharply along with the price of oil. Utility companies, prized for their steady dividends, are rising.
KEEPING SCORE: The Dow Jones industrial average inched up 23 points, or 0.2 percent, at 18,370 at 3 p.m. Eastern time. The Standard & Poor’s 500 was up less than on point to 2,152. The Nasdaq composite was down 9 points, or 0.2 percent, at 5,014.
DRUG SALES: Teva Pharmaceutical Industries jumped $9.50, or 5 percent, to $209.40 after it gave strong projections for second quarter results and moved closer to completing a $40.5 billion purchase of Allergan’s generic drug business.
JUNO JUMP: Juno Therapeutics soared $3.98, or 14 percent, to $31.77 after the regulators said its leukemia drug trials can continue. The stock had tumbled Friday after the Food and Drug Administration halted testing.
STORES SLUMP: Arts and crafts chain Michaels fell $1.92, or 6.6 percent, to $26.96 after a disappointing forecast. It said it plans to sell stock to raise money.
OIL: Benchmark U.S. crude fell $2.05, or 4.4 percent, to close at $44.75 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, a standard for international oil prices, lost $2.21, or 4.6 percent, to close at $46.26 a barrel in London.
BREAK IN GAINS? If the Dow and S&P 500 fall for the day, it will break a three-day winning streak kicked off Friday by a solid report on U.S. job creation in June. Investors are hoping the strengthening economy, plus a delay in Federal Reserve rate increases, will drive stocks higher in the coming weeks.
THE QUOTE: “Good economic numbers could translate into decent second quarter earnings, and rates are low and should stay low,” said Ernie Cecilia, chief investment officer of Bryn Mawr Trust. That makes for a “decent environment” for stocks.
EUROPE’S DAY: Britain’s FTSE 100 slipped 0.2 percent and Germany’s DAX fell 0.3 percent. France’s CAC 50 rose 0.1 percent.
BRITISH CHANGE: Investors hope that the speedier-than-anticipated appointment of Theresa May as Britain’s prime minister will help provide some clarity as to how the country wishes to proceed with its exit from the European Union.
ANALYST’S TAKE: The move has “settled the nerves” of investors, said James Hughes, chief market analyst at GKFX, helping ease the “huge uncertainty” that had been hurting markets.
JAPAN IN FOCUS: Japanese stocks extended gains on hopes that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will expand bond purchases and flood the market with money now that his Liberal Democratic Party has emerged victorious from parliamentary elections on the weekend.
ASIA ADVANCES: Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 rose 0.8 percent and South Korea’s Kospi gained 0.7 percent. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index rose 0.5 percent.
BONDS AND CURRENCIES: U.S. government bond prices rose. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 1.47 percent from 1.51 percent. The euro rose to $1.1107 from $1.1067 and the dollar fell to 104.31 yen from 104.79 yen. The pound fell to $1.3182 from $1.3271.
METALS: Precious and industrial metals prices rose. Gold climbed $8.30 to $1,343.60 an ounce, silver increased 24 cents to $20.41 an ounce and copper added 3 cents to $2.24 a pound.
ENERGY: In other energy trading in New York, wholesale gasoline lost 5 cents, or 3.6 percent, to close at $1.38 a barrel, heating oil fell 8 cents, or 5.6 percent, to $1.38 a barrel and natural gas was flat at $2.74 per 1,000 cubic feet.