Stocks move lower in midday trading on Wall Street


NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks slightly lower in midday trading on Wall Street on Thursday, as traders focused on a large batch of earnings reports from U.S. companies.

Ryder System, a truck leasing company, fell 7 percent after reporting earnings that fell far short of what Wall Street analysts were expecting. Ralph Lauren plunged 11 percent after announcing that Stefan Larsson, who took over as CEO for Ralph Lauren less than two years ago, is leaving the company.

KEEPING SCORE: The Dow Jones industrial average lost 36 points, or 0.2 percent, to 19,856 as of 12:15 p.m. Eastern. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index fell three points, or 0.1 percent, to 2,277 and the Nasdaq composite lost 12 points, or 0.2 percent, to 5,631. Rising and falling stocks were about evenly split on the New York Stock Exchange.

SECTORS: Six of the 11 sectors in the S&P 500 index fell, led by phone companies and materials stocks. Real estate companies and consumer goods makers.

LAUNDERED: Clothing company Ralph Lauren sank $9.73, or 11 percent, to $77.68 after the company’s CEO unexpectedly departed the company, after less than two years in the position. Stefan Larsson came from Old Navy and had been charged with turning around the iconic clothing brand as its founder continues step back from the company.

JOBS, JOBS, JOBS: Investors are looking to Friday’s closely watched jobs report, the first that will be under the tenure of President Trump. Economists expect employers created 175,000 jobs in January, and the unemployment rate remained at 4.7 percent.

Along with being important to investors as an economic indicator, the report is likely to be politically fraught. President Trump has called for measuring unemployment in different ways, through non-traditional metrics like the labor participation rate or the unemployment rate that includes measurements of workers in part-time jobs who want full-time work.

SHARED AND LIKED: Facebook shares were down $1.53, or 1 percent, to $131.71 despite the company reporting results that easily exceeded analysts’ expectations. The company continues to see huge growth in mobile and video advertising, which has bolstered its bottom line.

OVERSEAS: In Europe, Germany’s DAX slipped 0.3 percent while the CAC 40 in France fell 0.1 percent. The FTSE 100 index of leading British shares was 0.5 percent higher.

BONDS, CURRENCIES: U.S. government bond prices rose. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 2.46 percent from 2.47 percent. The euro rose to $1.0797 from $1.0774 and the dollar fell to 112.57 yen from 113.09 yen.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude fell 7 cents to $53.82 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, the benchmark for international oil prices, rose 11 cents to $56.91 a barrel in London.