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Stocks Dip, Oil Prices Fall            05/25 15:48

   Energy companies and oil prices took their worst losses in months Friday on 
reports OPEC countries plan to produce more oil soon.

   NEW YORK (AP) -- Energy companies and oil prices took their worst losses in 
months Friday on reports OPEC countries plan to produce more oil soon. Stock 
indexes finished an indecisive week with small losses.

   U.S. crude oil sank 4 percent after multiple reports indicated that Russia 
and OPEC could start producing more oil soon. They cut production at the start 
of 2017 following a big buildup in supplies that had pushed prices lower.

   In November they extended that cut through the end of 2018, but according to 
reports this week, they might agree to start raising production in June. U.S. 
crude finished at a three-year high Monday and has fallen 6 percent since then.

   The drop in the price of oil has meant sharp losses for energy companies, 
but it gave airlines a boost as investors anticipated lower fuel costs. Bond 
yields declined again, which hurt banks but helped dividend-payers like 
household goods makers.

   Wall Street also focused on quarterly results from retailers. Gap plunged 
after it said its namesake brand is still struggling, but Foot Locker soared 
after it said sales of premium shoes improved.

   Terry Sandven, chief equity strategist at U.S. Bank Wealth Management, said 
energy companies and oil prices had made big gains lately and were due to slow 
down. He said the growing global economy is going to help the industry in the 
longer term.

   "If you look at the sectors that are outperforming, it's those that tend to 
be pro-growth," he said, especially technology and consumer-focused companies. 
Over the last month that growth, and the strong company profits that come with 
it, have not translated into gains for stocks. Sandven said that could change 
when companies start reporting their second-quarter results in July.

   The S&P 500 index slid 6.43 points, or 0.2 percent, to 2,721.33. The Dow 
Jones industrial average fell 58.67 points, or 0.2 percent, to 24,753.09. The 
Nasdaq composite climbed 9.42 points, or 0.1 percent, to 7,433.85 as 
consumer-focused companies moved higher. The Russell 2000 index of 
smaller-company stocks lost 1.29 points, or 0.1 percent, to 1,626.93.

   U.S. markets will be closed Monday for the Memorial Day holiday. 


   U.S. crude dropped to $67.88 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to 
price international oils, fell 3 percent to $76.44 a barrel in London. 
Increased oil production and lower prices could reduce profits for energy 
companies. Exxon Mobil fell 1.9 percent to $78.71 and Chevron gave up 3.5 
percent to $122.19.

   Among airlines, Delta gained 2.7 percent to $55.87 and American rose 3.1 
percent to $44.91. The stocks have skidded over the last few months as the 
rising price of oil increased their fuel costs and cut into their profits. 
Delta stock is flat in 2018 and American Airlines has fallen 14 percent.

   Bond prices kept rising. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 2.93 
percent form 2.98 percent.

   The falling yields helped household goods makers break out of their recent 
struggles. Toothpaste maker Colgate-Palmolive added 2 percent to $63.75 and 
cereal maker Kellogg rose 2.7 percent to $65.23. The stocks, and others that 
pay large dividends, have lagged behind the rest of the market as investors 
found technology firms and consumer-focused companies more attractive thanks to 
signs of strong growth in the U.S. economy.

   Gap dropped 14.6 percent to $28.15 following a drop in sales for Gap brand 
stores. Gap has been shifting focus away from the namesake brand because it's 
not connecting with shoppers and has struggled to separate itself from rivals. 
Its Old Navy and Banana Republic brands fared better. Elsewhere, discount 
retailer Ross Stores gave up 6.8 percent to $77.34 after it gave disappointing 
forecasts for the current quarter and the full year.

   Foot Locker blew past estimates and said sales of premium shoes continue to 
improve, which has been a major concern for it and other sporting goods 
companies. The stock jumped 20.2 percent to $54.74. Shoe Carnival leaped 20.7 
percent to $31.80 after it beat expectation in the first quarter. It, too, said 
athletic shoe sales improved.

   Fiat Chrysler fell 2 percent to $21.82 after saying it's recalling 4.8 
million vehicles in the U.S. because in rare circumstances drivers may not be 
able to turn off the cruise control. The company warned owners not to use 
cruise control until the vehicles can be fixed with a software update. Drivers 
can still stop the cars using the brakes.

   Wholesale gasoline slid 2.3 percent to $2.18 a gallon. Heating oil lost 2.5 
percent to $2.21 a gallon. Natural gas remained at $2.94 per 1,000 cubic feet.

   Gold slipped 0.1 percent to $1,303.70 an ounce. Silver lost 0.8 percent to 
$16.55 an ounce. Copper fell 0.6 percent to $3.08 a pound.

   The dollar rose to 109.37 yen from 109.28 yen. The euro fell to $1.1669 from 
$1.1727.

   Germany's DAX rose 0.6 percent and the CAC 40 in France fell 0.1 percent. 
Britain's FTSE 100 rose 0.2 percent. Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 index rose 
0.1 percent and South Korea's Kospi lost 0.2 percent. Hong Kong's Hang Seng 
shed 0.6 percent.


(BE)

 
 
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