Stocks end mostly lower
NEW YORK (AP) – The stock market finished mostly lower on Thursday as investors assessed the latest batch of company earnings and sold utility and energy stocks.
Tesla, a maker of electric cars, fell after reporting a first-quarter loss and saying it would need to invest more in its business.
Companies that pay steady dividends and have a long record of profitability, such as utilities, have surged this year, benefiting from a shift in sentiment as investors sold previously high-flying Internet and small-company stocks. A sell-off in these stocks could be a troubling sign for the overall market.
“The market’s still pretty sloppy,” said Quincy Krosby, a market strategist at Prudential Financial. “The fear in the market is that the selling spreads to the defensive stocks, the safe havens and that could bring down the whole market.”
The Standard & Poor’s 500 index fell 2.58 points, or 0.1 percent, to 1,875.63. The Dow Jones industrial average edged up 32.43 points, or 0.2 percent, to 16,550.97. The Nasdaq composite lost 16.18 points, or 0.4 percent, to 4,051.50.
Utility companies in the S&P 500 fell 1.2 percent, paring their gains this year to 12.5 percent. Energy stocks dropped 1.3 percent.
Stocks had started the day higher as investors looked over earnings reports and after some encouraging news on hiring.
The U.S. government reported that the number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits fell 26,000 last week to 319,000, the latest sign that the job market is slowly improving. The drop follows two weeks of increases that reflected mostly temporary layoffs around the Easter holiday.
Keurig Green Mountain was among the big gainers after report earnings.
The maker of specialist coffees climbed $11.98, or 13 percent, to $104.19 after its earnings exceeded analysts’ estimates. Keurig, known for its single-serve coffee brewing system, said late Wednesday that its net income climbed 22 percent in its fiscal second quarter.