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Stocks slip, led by energy and materials companies

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Energy and mining companies led a modest decline for U.S. stocks in afternoon trading Wednesday as the prices of oil, metals and other commodities fell. Disappointing earnings from several companies, including Nike, also weighed on the market.

KEEPING SCORE: The Dow Jones industrial average fell five points to 17,577 as of 1:24 p.m. Eastern Time. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index lost five points, or 0.3 percent, to 2,044. The Nasdaq composite dropped 32 points, or 0.7 percent, to 4,789.

THE QUOTE: Trading has been muted this week ahead of the Easter holiday. Investors also are looking ahead to first-quarter earnings reports, which start to come out in a couple of weeks, noted Bill Northey, chief investment officer at U.S. Bank Private Client Group.

“The market is taking a little bit of a ‘now what?’ approach,” Northey said. “We’re going to be trading sideways for a bit of time until we get some market-moving information or change in the trajectory of corporate earnings.”

SECTOR VIEW: Eight of the 10 sectors in the S&P 500 index were down, with energy stocks sliding the most, 1.5 percent. The sector is down about 18 percent over the past year. Utilities and consumer staples stocks moved higher.

MINE THIS: Some mining companies fell as metals prices headed lower. Newmont Mining fell $1.87, or 6.8 percent, to $25.52, while Freeport-McMoRan lost 87 cents, or 8 percent, to $10.13.

OIL DRAG: Several energy companies tumbled as oil prices veered lower. Chesapeake Energy lost 44 cents, or 9 percent, to $4.39, while Marathon oil fell 79 cents, or 7 percent, to $10.52. Devon Energy slid $1.86, or 6.6 percent, to $26.15.

NOT DOING IT: Nike, one of the 30 stocks in the Dow Jones industrial average, fell 3 percent after reporting revenue that fell far short of what analysts were expecting and a disappointing outlook for 2016. The athletic apparel maker dropped $1.97 to $62.94.

DOH! NUT: Krispy Kreme Doughnuts slid 5.3 percent after the chain reported disappointing fourth-quarter revenue and a weaker-than-expected annual profit forecast. The stock shed 82 cents to $14.56.

BUGGED: Red Hat slid 3.2 percent after the software maker delivered disappointing forecasts. The stock fell $2.45 to $73.26.

PHARMA SUIT: Gilead Sciences fell 3.5 percent after a federal jury in California ruled in favor of rival Merck & Co. in a high-stakes lawsuit over patents for lucrative new drugs that rapidly cure hepatitis C. Gilead shed $3.31 to $90.41. Merck added 20 cents to $53.23.

HOUSING REPORT: The Commerce Department said that new-home sales rose 2 percent in February to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 512,000, with all of the increase coming from a surge in purchases in the West. Sales in the opening two months of 2016 are running slightly below last year’s pace. The report did little for homebuilder stocks, which were mostly down along with the broader market.

OVERSEAS: European stocks were mixed following Tuesday’s deadly bombings in Belgium. Germany’s DAX was up 0.3 percent, while France’s CAC 40 was down 0.2 percent. Britain’s FTSE 100 was up 0.1 percent. Belgium’s main index was up 0.1 percent. In Asia, markets mostly fell moderately. Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 fell 0.3 percent. South Korea’s Kospi edged 0.1 percent lower. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng fell 0.3 percent. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 lost 0.5 percent.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude was down $1.34, or 3.2 percent, to $40.11 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, the benchmark for international oils, was down $1.01, or 2.4 percent, to $40.78 a barrel in London.

BONDS AND CURRENCIES: Bond prices rose. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 1.89 percent from 1.94 percent late Tuesday. The euro fell slightly to $1.1175 from $1.1216, while the dollar rose to 112.69 yen from 112.33 yen.

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