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Stocks Sputter on Trumpcare Vote Delay 03/23 17:34

   After a promising start, U.S. stock indexes gave up an early rally and ended 
mostly lower Thursday after Republicans delayed a vote on their health care and 
left investors concerned about delays for the business-friendly agenda of 
President Donald Trump.

   NEW YORK (AP) -- After a promising start, U.S. stock indexes gave up an 
early rally and ended mostly lower Thursday after Republicans delayed a vote on 
their health care and left investors concerned about delays for the 
business-friendly agenda of President Donald Trump.

   The Dow Jones industrial average rose as much as 96 points just before 1 
p.m., but doubts about the bill cast a shadow over the market as hardline 
conservatives said they didn't support it. Health care stocks turned lower.

   Elsewhere, a growing boycott of YouTube advertising hurt Alphabet, Google's 
parent company. Smaller companies did better than the rest of the market and 
more stocks rose than fell, a sign investors are still confident in the U.S. 
economy.

   Near the close of trading, House Republican leadership postponed a vote on 
the American Health Care Act because of a lack of support. Conservatives and 
more moderate Republicans had opposing concerns about the bill, which is widely 
disliked by House Democrats.

   Jamie Cox, managing partner for Harris Financial Group, said investors are 
worried about how the Republican-controlled Congress and White House will come 
together on issues including tax reform, a debt ceiling increase, and a boost 
in infrastructure spending.

   "If the Republicans are having such a difficult time making changes to 
something they universally agree upon, how on earth are they going to agree on 
the more complicated tax cut that is coming through later in the year?" Cox 
asked.

   The Standard & Poor's 500 index fell 2.49 points, or 0.1 percent, to 
2,345.96. The Dow lost 4.72 points to 20,656.58. The Nasdaq composite slid 3.95 
points, or 0.1 percent, to 5,817.69. The Russell 2000 index, which tracks 
smaller companies, gained 7.83 points, or 0.6 percent, to 1,353.43.

   Bond prices edged lower. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note, which has 
skidded over the last few days, rose to 2.42 percent from 2.40 percent. That 
modest increase gave banks and other financial companies a lift.

   The S&P 500 banking index had plunged 5 percent over the previous four days 
as bond yields and interest rates decreased. Banks turned higher on Thursday. 
SunTrust Banks added 67 cents, or 1.2 percent, to $54.85 and Huntington 
Bancshares rose 24 cents, or 1.9 percent, to $13.02.

   Alphabet fell as a YouTube advertising boycott spread. Companies including 
Johnson & Johnson, AT&T and Verizon have suspended their YouTube ad campaigns 
in the last week because their ads were appearing alongside offensive videos, 
including some that promoted terrorism. The ads are placed automatically and 
Google has said it will do more to block offensive videos. YouTube is one of 
the fastest-growing parts of Google's ad system.

   Alphabet lost $10.15, or 1.2 percent, to $839.65. Technology companies 
lagged the rest of the market. Alphabet is the second-most valuable company on 
the S&P 500 after Apple.

   Companies that run Medicaid programs, like Centene and Molina Healthcare, 
stumbled in afternoon trading and health insurance companies like UnitedHealth 
and Humana took small losses. Drug companies also fell. Hospital operators 
traded higher, as did medical device makers.

   Cox, of Harris Financial, said stocks probably won't fall much further if 
the bill ultimately fails because investors will focus on other items on 
Trump's agenda.

   "The market doesn't care a bit about the health care legislation," he said.

   PVH, which owns Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger, jumped after its 
fourth-quarter profit and sales topped analyst estimates. It said sales for the 
Hilfiger brand grew in the latest quarter and its business is doing well in 
spite of high discounts in the U.S. The stock gained $7.70, or 8.5 percent, to 
$98.55.

   Discount retailer Five Below also climbed after it surpassed Wall Street 
projections in its fourth quarter. The stock rose $4.12, or 10.8 percent, to 
$42.25. Retailers have struggled in recent months, but consumer-focused 
companies did better than the broader market on Thursday. Nike, which plunged 7 
percent a day earlier, recovered $1.45, or 2.7 percent, to $55.37.

   U.S. crude oil lost 34 cents to $47.70 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, 
used to price international oils, slipped 8 cents to $50.56 a barrel in London. 
That pulled energy companies lower.

   In other energy trading, wholesale gasoline fell 1 cent to $1.59 a gallon. 
Heating oil lost 1 cent to$1.49 a gallon. Natural gas rose 4 cents to $3.05 per 
1,000 cubic feet.

   Gold fell $2.50 to $1,247.20 an ounce, which ended a small five-day streak 
of gains. Silver rose 2 cents to $17.59 an ounce. Copper picked up 1 cent to 
$2.64 a pound.

   The dollar inched up to 111.07 yen from 110.92 yen. The euro slid to $1.0786 
from $1.0798.

   Germany's DAX jumped 1.1 percent and the CAC 40 in France rose 0.8 percent. 
Britain's FTSE 100 index added 0.2 percent. In Japan the Nikkei 225 gained 0.2 
percent. Hong Kong's Hang Seng was flat and the South Korean Kospi gained 0.2 
percent.


(KA)

 
 
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