Belfast Telegraph

Losses for banks pull US stocks further from record highs

US stocks finished lower on Monday for the second time in the last three trading days.

Banks gave back some of their recent gains after a jump in interest rates last week sent them sharply higher.

Mining and chemical companies declined after China cut its economic growth forecast, and airlines slumped after Delta said its business is not improving as fast as it hoped.

There were few winners to be found on Wall Street as more than two thirds of the stocks on the New York Stock Exchange fell.

That included consistent losses for banks, investment firms and insurance companies.

The Standard & Poor's 500 index fell 7.81 points, or 0.3%, to 2,375.31.

The Dow Jones industrial average lost 51.37 points, or 0.2%, to 20,954.34.

The Nasdaq composite lost 21.58 points, or 0.4%, to 5,849.17.

The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks sank 9.88 points, or 0.7%, to 1,384.25.

All four indexes reached all-time highs last week, and the S&P 500 and Nasdaq have risen for six weeks in a row.

Over the weekend Li Keqiang, China's top economic official, trimmed the country's growth target to 6.5 % .

The Chinese economy is the second largest in the world, and the prospect of slower growth there hurt mining, packaging and chemical companies and sent the price of copper lower.

Delta Air Lines gave a disappointing revenue projection for the second quarter and its stock lost 1.28 dollars, or 2.6 % , to 48.85 dollars. United and American Airlines each fell 3 % .

Poultry companies slumped after 70,000 chickens were killed at a Tennessee farm after a bird flu outbreak was discovered there.

The affected farm is a supplier to Tyson Foods, and while Tyson said it does not expect its business to suffer, the news brought back bad memories for investors - in 2015, US poultry producers lost 48 million birds to a different strain of the virus.

Tyson stock gave up 1.61 dollars, or 2.5%, to 61.99 dollars. Sanderson Farms gave up 1.86 dollars, or 2%, to 92.53 dollars, and Pilgrim's Pride lost 25 cents, or 1.2%, to 20.70 dollars.

French carmaker PSA Group agreed to buy General Motors' European business, which has lost 20 billion dollars since 1999 and has not made an annual profit over that span.

Investors were glad to see it go, as GM's stock jumped almost 5% when the talks were disclosed last month.

PSA makes Peugeot and Citroen cars, and the addition of the Opel and Vauxhall brands will make it the second-largest carmaker in Europe. Its stock rose 2.7%.

GM's stock dipped 32 cents to 37.91 dollars.

Bond prices continued to slip. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 2.49% from 2.48%. Bond yields jumped last week as investors grew more certain the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates this month.

Companies that pay big dividends, like real estate investment trusts, fell again.