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U.S. stocks are mixed as oil and metals prices slide

🕐 4 min read

NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stocks are little changed in midday trading Monday as the market comes off two weeks of losses. Drug companies are leading gains in the health care sector, but energy and materials companies are falling.

The price of oil is down following a government shakeup in Saudi Arabia. Energy and metals prices are also falling because of renewed concerns of a slowdown in China, the world’s second-largest economy and a huge importer of oil and basic materials like copper.

KEEPING SCORE: The Dow Jones industrial average edged down 49 points, or 0.3 percent, to 17,691 as of 2:20 p.m. Eastern time. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index picked up 1 point to 2,058. The Nasdaq composite index rose 21 points, or 0.4 percent, to 4,756.

Losses for Caterpillar, Exxon Mobil and Chevron helped pull the Dow lower.

DOUGH FOR DOUGHNUTS: Krispy Kreme Doughnuts agreed to be taken private by coffee giant JAB Beech for about $1.35 billion, or $21 per share. The company’s Board approved the sale and shareholders will vote on it in June. Krispy Kreme’s stock jumped $4.07, or 24.1 percent, to $20.93.

OUT OF THE CLUB: LendingClub tumbled $1.95, or 27.4 percent, to $5.15 after its chairman and CEO resigned. The company, an online marketplace that connects borrowers and investors, said Renaud Laplanche left the company after an internal review of the sale of $22 million in loans to an investor.

LendingClub said he violated company business practices and didn’t fully disclose his actions during a company review.

ON THE MEND: Health care stocks posted solid gains. Botox maker Allergan jumped after reporting encouraging results from a late-stage clinical study of a treatment for uterine fibroids, a noncancerous growth in the uterus. The stock climbed $11.34, or 5.6 percent, to $212.99. Mallinckrodt, which has tumbled in recent months as investors worried about its ability to raise drug prices, added $2.97, or 5.3 percent, to $59.37.

Health care real estate investment trust HCP rose after a strong earnings report. HCP gained $1.46, or 4.2 percent, to $36.01.

MEET THE NEW BOSS: The energy market was unsettled after the government of Saudi Arabia replaced its longtime oil minister over the weekend. Ali al-Naimi held that position for 20 years and was a powerful voice within OPEC. He was dismissed as the government plans a series of reforms that are intended to overhaul the kingdom’s economy as it deals with the effects of a steep drop in oil prices.

OIL PRICES: U.S. crude oil fell 96 cents, or 2.1 percent, to $43.70 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, a benchmark for international oil prices, fell $1.46, or 3.2 percent, to $43.91 a barrel in London.

Among energy companies, Exxon Mobil lost 45 cents to $88.06 and Chevron gave up $1.48, or 1.5 percent, to $100.38, which helped pull the Dow lower.

CHINA: Reports showed that China’s exports fell by 1.8 percent in April from a year earlier and imports plunged 10.9 percent. Both totals were weaker than analysts expected. China is a critical market for fuels and metals, and investors worried that the import and export data means demand is getting weaker.

METALS: Gold dropped $27.40, or 2.1 percent, to $1,266.60 an ounce and silver lost 44 cents, or 2.5 percent, to $17.09 an ounce. Copper sank 5 cents, or 2.2 percent, to $2.11 a pound.

Gold producer Newmont Mining fell $2.01, or 5.9 percent, to $32.12. Gold and copper miner Freeport-McMoRan lost $1.11, or 9.4 percent, to $10.68 and aluminum producer Alcoa fell 35 cents, or 3.5 percent, to $9.69.

TASTY: Meat producer Tyson Foods raised its annual forecasts after its second-quarter results surpassed Wall Street estimates. Its stock added $1.19, or 1.8 percent, to $68.44. Competitor Hormel Foods rose $1.32, or 3.4 percent, to $39.87.

REDSTONE RULING: CBS and Viacom slumped after a judge dismissed a case that challenged the mental competency of Sumner Redstone, who controls both companies. An ex-girlfriend had challenged the 92-year-old’s ability to make decisions about his medical care. Viacom’s fell 67 cents, or 1.5 percent, to $43.87 and CBS lost $1.43, or 2.5 percent, to $56.25.

OVERSEAS: Germany’s DAX advanced 1.1 percent while the CAC-40 in France rose 0.5 percent. The FTSE 100 index of leading British shares dipped 0.2 percent. The Shanghai Composite Index sank 2.8 percent. Seoul’s Kospi was off 0.4 percent while Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 advanced 0.7 percent.

GERMANY BOOST: Germany’s DAX stock index was the standout performer in Europe after figures showed factory orders up strongly in March. The Federal Statistical Office said new orders rose 1.9 percent in March compared with the previous month. It also adjusted February’s decline to a drop of only 0.8 percent over January, less than the 1.2 percent drop initially reported.

BONDS, CURRENCIES: Bond prices continued to rise. The yield on the 10-year U.S. Treasury note fell to 1.76 percent from 1.78 percent late Friday. The dollar rose to 108.44 yen from 107.13 yen. The euro slipped to $1.1387 from $1.1401.

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