US stocks mostly lower in early trading; banks and tech fall


NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stocks are mostly lower in early trading as the market comes off a three-week winning streak. Banks and technology companies are posting some of the biggest losses. Chipmaker Micron Technology sank 5 percent. Energy companies rose along with the price of oil.

KEEPING SCORE: The Standard & Poor’s 500 index lost six points, or 0.3 percent, to 1,994 as of 10:10 a.m. Eastern time. The Nasdaq composite gave up 22 points, or 0.5 percent, to 4,695. The Dow Jones industrial average edged up nine points, or less than 0.1 percent, to 17,016.

ENERGY SURGE: The five biggest gainers in the S&P 500 were drillers and other energy-related companies. Murphy Oil rose $1.02, or 4.6 percent, to $24.72.

DUPONT JUMP: DuPont rose $1.31, or 2 percent, to $64.48. Bloomberg News reported that German chemicals giant BASF is offering to buy the company. DuPont had agreed to merge with Dow Chemical.

BANK WARNING: The Bank for International Settlements warned of a “gathering storm” as central banks run out of room to stimulate their economies. The BIS’s chief economist, Claudio Borio, said investor confidence in central banks is “faltering.” The BIS is often referred to as the central banks’ central bank.

ECB IN FOCUS: Investors are anxious over a policy meeting of the ECB on Thursday. They expect further stimulus from the central bank because inflation across the 19-country eurozone has fallen back below zero. That could include a further cut into negative of the deposit rate, from minus 0.3 percent, and an expansion of its bond-buying program.

EUROPE DOWN: Germany’s DAX fell 0.9 percent while France’s CAC-40 lost 0.9 percent. Britain’s FTSE 100 lost 0.7 percent.

CHINESE GROWTH CUT: Over the weekend, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang lowered the official growth target of the world’s second largest economy to 6.5-7 percent from last year’s “about 7 percent” and promised more market-opening reforms. The slowdown in China has been rattling markets and unnerving China’s trading partners as it dampens demand for industrial components and raw materials.

ASIA’S DAY: Tokyo’s Nikkei retreated 0.6 percent and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng shed 0.1 percent. Seoul’s Kospi advanced 0.1 percent.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude gained $1.08, or 3 percent, to $37.02 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, used to price international oils, rose $1.10, or 3 percent, to $39.82 a barrel.

CURRENCY: The euro was down 0.4 percent at $1.0949 while the dollar fell 0.2 percent to 113.58 yen.

BONDS: Bond prices fell. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 1.90 percent from 1.88 percent late Friday.