US stocks slip away from record highs

US stocks mostly slipped away from their latest record highs as the two former halves of Hewlett-Packard both tumbled, while falling interest rates helped phone companies but hurt banks.

The price of oil jumped on reports OPEC and a group of other countries might extend the cuts in production they made at the start of this year. That took energy companies higher. Hewlett Packard Enterprise sank after it said CEO Meg Whitman will retire, while printer and PC maker HP lost ground after its latest quarterly report.

Interest rates fell after the Federal Reserve released minutes from its latest meeting, which ended November 1. While most officials were comfortable raising interest rates soon, as investors think they will do in December, a few Fed leaders wanted to wait until there is more evidence inflation is rising. The Fed has suggested it wants to raise rates three more times next year.

The Standard & Poor's 500 index dipped 1.95 points, or 0.1%, to 2,597.08. The Dow Jones industrial average slid 64.65 points, or 0.3%, to 23,526.18. The Nasdaq composite rose 4.88 points, or 0.1%, to a record 6,867.36. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks lost 2.13 points, or 0.1%, to 1,516.76.

All four indexes closed at record highs Tuesday, and on Wednesday most of the companies on the New York Stock Exchange finished higher.

US markets will be closed Thursday for the Thanksgiving holiday. They will reopen Friday.

The two main companies that once comprised Hewlett-Packard took the largest losses in the S&P 500. Hewlett Packard Enterprise, which sells data-centre hardware and tech gear, dropped after it announced company President Antonio Neri will replace Ms Whitman as CEO on February 1. Ms Whitman became CEO of Hewlett-Packard in 2011 and oversaw its split in 2015. HPE also reported mixed fourth-quarter results.

HP Enterprise fell $1.02, or 7.2%, to $13.10. Meanwhile HP Inc., which sells PCs and printers, had a solid quarter but couldn't sustain the gains it's made this year. The stock lost $1.12, or 5%, to $21.34. It's up 44% in 2017.

Bond prices started the day with small gains, which sent yields lower. Yields moved lower still as investors looked over the Federal Reserve minutes. The Fed has already raised interest rates twice this year in spite of low inflation, and Wren, of Wells Fargo, said investors may get jumpy as they examine economic data in the next few weeks and try to figure out how fast the Fed will move next year.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 2.32% from 2.36%. That sent banks lower because lower yields translate to smaller profits on loans. Cincinnati Financial fell 80c, or 1.1%, to $72.66. Phone companies, which pay big dividends similar to bonds, climbed higher. Verizon Communications rose 92c, or 2%, to $47.10.

The dollar also weakened as investors expected lower interest rates. It sank to ¥111.17 from ¥112.44. The euro rose to $1.1822 from $1.1742.

Germany's DAX lost 1.2% while the FTSE 100 in London rose 0.1% and France's CAC 40 slipped 0.2%. Tokyo's Nikkei 225 gained 0.5% and the Hang Seng index of Hong Kong advanced 0.6%. The Kospi in South Korea rose 0.4%.

AP


KEYWORDS: stocks, US, markets, business

 

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