US stocks wavering as oil prices skid ahead of OPEC meeting


NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stocks are wobbling Friday morning as energy companies are slipping with the price of oil. Citigroup became the latest bank to report weak but better-than-expected results for the first quarter.

MORNING RUSH: The Dow Jones industrial average fell 3 points to 17,923 as of 11:30 a.m. Eastern time. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index lost 1 point to 2,081. The Nasdaq composite added 2 points to 4,948.

Utility companies, the best performing group of stocks on the market this year, are making the largest gains. U.S. stocks haven’t moved much over the last two days, but they’re up almost 2 percent this week.

OIL: U.S. crude fell $1.13, or 2.7 percent, to $40.37 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, the international benchmark, lost 98 cents, or 2.2 percent, to $42.86 a barrel in London. The prices of wholesale gasoline, heating oil and natural gas also slumped.

This weekend, ministers from major oil-producing companies will meet in Qatar to discuss their production policies. The price of oil has risen in recent weeks as investors hope for a deal that will limit oil production in an effort to relieve a global glut and increase oil prices. But a deal is far from a sure thing, and hopes for a meaningful production cut faded Friday and oil prices declined with them.

Chevron lost 57 cents to $97.41 and Helmerich & Payne shed $2.17, or 3.6 percent, to $57.52. Newfield Exploration gave up 74 cents, or 2.1 percent, to $34.78.

MAKING BANK: Banks continued to report their first-quarter results, and in general they haven’t been as bad as analysts feared. Citigroup’s profit shrank 27 percent on weak results from its consumer bank and trading businesses, but the bank’s net income and revenue were greater than expected. The stock rose 34 cents to $45.32.

Bank holding company Regions Financial also reported a bigger profit and greater revenue than expected. Its stock added 21 cents, or 2.5 percent, to $8.70.

FACTORIES: U.S. factory production fell for the second month in a row, according to the Federal Reserve. That suggests American manufacturers are struggling with weak growth overseas, the strong dollar, and weak spending by U.S. consumers and businesses.

CHINA: China reported that its economy grew 6.7 percent in the first quarter of 2016. While that is the slowest pace in years, it matched analyst projections.

OVERSEAS: Germany’s DAX fell 0.4 percent and the CAC-40 in France was 0.4 percent lower. The FTSE 100 index of leading British shares declined 0.3 percent. The benchmark Nikkei 225 index in Japan shed 0.4 percent, while South Korean Kospi dipped 0.1 percent. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng slipped 0.1 percent.

BONDS, CURRENCIES: Bond prices rose and the yield on the 10-year U.S. Treasury note declined to 1.76 percent from 1.79 percent. The euro rose to $1.1288 from $1.1267 and the dollar fell to 108.85 yen from 109.28 yen.

___

AP Markets Writer Marley Jay can be reached at http://twitter.com/MarleyJayAP His work can be found at http://bigstory.ap.org/journalist/marley-jay

RECOMMENDED FOR YOU