US stock indexes waver in afternoon trading; oil rises

CaptionCloseThe major U.S. stock indexes were down slightly in afternoon trading Monday after spending much of the morning wavering between small gains and losses. Investors were looking ahead to President Donald Trump's speech to Congress on Tuesday for...

US stock indexes waver in afternoon trading; oil rises

CaptionCloseThe major U.S. stock indexes were down slightly in afternoon trading Monday after spending much of the morning wavering between small gains and losses. Investors were looking ahead to President Donald Trump's speech to Congress on Tuesday for...

27 February 2017 Monday 14:02
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US stock indexes waver in afternoon trading; oil rises

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The major U.S. stock indexes were down slightly in afternoon trading Monday after spending much of the morning wavering between small gains and losses. Investors were looking ahead to President Donald Trump's speech to Congress on Tuesday for details of promised tax cuts and infrastructure spending. Energy stocks led the gainers as the price of crude rose. Phone companies lagged the most.

KEEPING SCORE: The Dow Jones industrial average fell 12 points, or 0.1 percent, to 20,809 as of 1 p.m. Eastern Time. The Standard & Poor's 500 index slid 1 point, or 0.1 percent, to 2,366. The Nasdaq composite index lost less than 1 point to 5,844. The Dow notched 11 straight gains heading into Monday's trading.

TRUMP WATCH: During a meeting with governors Monday, President Donald Trump noted that his upcoming budget would include a big boost to defense spending. The White House separately said that the budget would include a $54 billion increase in defense spending while imposing corresponding cuts to domestic programs and foreign aid.

THE QUOTE: Investors were looking ahead to Trump's speech Tuesday to a joint session of Congress for details of how he plans to carry out promises to cut taxes and step up infrastructure spending. U.S. stocks have benefited from Trump's promise of pro-business changes, but investors are becoming uneasy over how large and rapid those changes will be.

"The theme for today is going to be the waiting game," said JJ Kinahan, chief market strategist at TD Ameritrade. "The markets had this incredible run, much of it based on potential tax policy, and what everyone wants to see tomorrow night is some more details."

GETTING DEFENSIVE: Shares in major defense contractors were headed higher. Raytheon added $2.15, or 1.4 percent, to $155.63. Northrop Grumman gained $3.14, or 1.3 percent, to $248.19. Lockheed Martin climbed $4.84, or 1.8 percent, to $269.02.

LOOKING UP: Expectations that the Trump administration will ramp up infrastructure spending projects helped lift several materials companies. Martin Marietta Materials rose $5.94, or 2.8 percent, to $215.99, while Vulcan Materials added $3.17, or 2.7 percent, to $120.99. Summit Materials gained 56 cents, or 2.4 percent, to $24.31.

STRONG QUARTER: Tegna climbed 3.9 percent after the media company's latest earnings beat Wall Street's estimates. The stock rose 98 cents to $25.79.

LET'S GO SHOPPING: Traders bid up shares in several retail chains. Nordstrom gained $1.14, or 2.5 percent, to $47.23, while Kohl's rose 97 cents, or 2.3 percent, to $43.96. Foot Locker was up $1.10, or 1.5 percent, to $76.11.

GROCERY SLIDE: Consumer stocks were among the biggest decliners in the S&P 500 as several supermarket operators declined. Kroger fell $1.19, or 3.6 percent, to $32.10, while Whole Foods Market dipped 62 cents, or 2 percent, at $30.94. Supervalu shed 4 cents to $3.88.

DISAPPOINTING OUTLOOK: Power company AES fell 4.5 percent after its full-year profit forecast disappointed investors. The stock slid 54 cents to $11.39.

MIXED DATA: The Commerce Department said U.S. businesses boosted their orders for long-lasting manufactured goods in January by 1.8 percent, the largest amount in three months. But a key category that tracks business investment plans slipped 0.4 percent, the first drop since September.

MARKETS OVERSEAS: In Europe, Germany's DAX was up 0.2 percent, while France's CAC-40 was flat. London's FTSE-100 was up 0.1 percent. Earlier, major indexes in Asia posted losses. Tokyo's Nikkei 225 index fell 0.9 percent. Hong Kong's Hang Seng slid 0.2 percent. Seoul's Kospi shed 0.4 percent. Sydney's S&P-ASX 200 lost 0.3 percent.

OIL & GAS: Benchmark U.S. crude was up 19 cents, or 0.4 percent, at $54.18 a barrel in New York. The contract fell 46 cents on Friday. Brent crude, used to price international oils, was up 27 cents, or 0.5 percent, at $56.58 in London. It lost 51 cents the previous session. Natural gas futures were down 10 cents, or 3.7 percent, at $2.69 per 1,000 cubic feet.

TREASURY YIELDS: Bond prices fell. The 10-year Treasury yield rose to 2.35 percent from 2.32 percent late Friday.

CURRENCIES: The dollar edged up to 112.26 yen from Friday's 111.98 yen. The euro rose to $1.0606 from $1.0565.

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