NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stocks are slipping Thursday morning after a surprising jump in the number of Americans who are out of work. Retailers got more bad news as department store Kohl’s reported disappointing first-quarter results. Companies including agribusiness giant Monsanto are climbing on reports of possible buyouts.
KEEPING SCORE: The Dow Jones industrial average lost 47 points, or 0.3 percent, to 17,633 as of 11:26 a.m. Eastern time. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index sank 7 points, or 0.4 percent, to 2,057. The Nasdaq composite index dipped 40 points, or 0.9 percent, to 4,720.
OUT OF WORK: The Labor Department said applications for unemployment benefits rose to the highest level since February 2015. That comes after a disappointing jobs report for the month of April. Applications rose by 20,000 to 294,000. Despite the increase, they have remained below 300,000 for more than a year.
MORE RETAIL WOES: Department store Kohl’s said its sales dropped and its income was weighed down by high costs. The company’s results suffered as it discounted some items to clear out inventory. The stock fell $4.30, or 11.1 percent, to $34.40.
Retailers have been struggling for months. Macy’s slashed its profit forecast Wednesday following its quarterly report, and Gap posted worse-than-expected April sales on Monday. Nordstrom fell 76 cents, or 1.7 percent, to $44.68 and Macy’s lost another 72 cents, or 2.3 percent, to $30.66.
DEAL TALK: Bloomberg News reported that German chemical and pharmaceutical company Bayer might make an offer for U.S.-based Monsanto. That follows a wave of consolidation in the chemicals industry: DuPont and Dow Chemical agreed to combine last year, and ChemChina agreed to buy Syngenta of Switzerland in March. Monsanto stock climbed $8.27, or 9.2 percent, to $98.62.
Data security company Infoblox surged $3.30, or 21.6 percent, to $18.61 after Bloomberg reported that a private equity firm offered to buy it.
TECH TUMBLES: Tech stocks took the largest losses as Apple fell to its lowest price in almost two years. Its stock slid $2.54, or 2.7 percent, to $89.97. IBM fell $1.45, or 1 percent, to $147.50.
EAT UP: Burger chain Jack in the Box reported strong results, including better sales at its Qdoba Mexican restaurants. Its stock jumped $9.44, or 14.5 percent, to $74.58.
CARDED: Payment card company CPI Card Group reported disappointing results as shipments of chip-enabled cards were lower than expected. The company said the market is struggling in the U.S. and cut its guidance because credit card companies aren’t buying and issuing as many of the cards as expected.
Its stock tumbled $3.17, or 41.4 percent, to $4.49. The company’s IPO priced at $10 per share in October.
OIL: Oil prices fell. Benchmark U.S. oil, which is at its highest price since early November, lost 50 cents, or 1.1 percent, to $45.73 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, the benchmark for international oil prices, lost 63 cents, or 1.3 percent, to $46.97 a barrel in London.
OVERSEAS: Germany’s DAX fell 1.3 percent and the FTSE 100 in Britain was down 1.1 percent. France’s CAC 40 lost 0.6 percent. Japan’s Nikkei 225 stock index rose 0.4 percent and the Hang Seng index of Hong Kong dropped 0.7 percent. South Korea’s Kospi lost 0.1 percent.
BONDS, CURRENCIES: Bond prices fell and the yield on the 10-year U.S. Treasury note rose to 1.74 percent from 1.73 percent. The dollar edged up to 108.70 yen from 108.49 yen. The euro slipped to $1.1391 from $1.1425.
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