Belfast Telegraph

US stocks dip as banks stumble

US stocks finished mostly lower on Monday in a quiet day of trading.

Banks fell along with bond yields as stocks declined for a third straight day.

Lower bond yields hurt banks because they force interest rates down on mortgages and other kinds of loans. Utility companies gave up some of their recent gains.

Most sectors did not move much on the lightest trading day of the year. European markets mostly fell after the British government said it will formally begin the process of leaving the European Union next week.

The Standard & Poor's 500 index lost 4.78 points, or 0.2%, to 2,373.47. The Dow Jones industrial average slipped 8.76 points to 20,905.86. The Nasdaq composite rose 0.53 points to 5,901.53. The Russell 2000 of small-company stocks fell 7.43 points, or 0.5%, to 1,384.10.

The stock market has mostly been quiet this month. Its two big moves were both linked to the Federal Reserve: on March 1 stocks jumped after the central bank signalled it would raise rates, and they climbed last Wednesday after the Fed made it clear it will move slowly for the rest of the year.

Bond prices rose, send yields to their lowest in three weeks. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 2.46% from 2.50%.

Wells Fargo fell 1.04 dollars, or 1.8%, to 57.63 dollars and Synchrony Financial gave up 92 cents, or 2.6%, to 34.20 dollars.

The British pound slipped to 1.2350 dollars from 1.2396 dollars late Friday, and it is down about 20% since Britain voted to leave the EU in late June. The dollar declined to 112.58 yen from 112.70 yen. The euro fell to 1.0733 dollars from 1.0743 dollars.

Benchmark US crude declined 56 cents, or 1.1% to 48.22 dollars a barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, lost 14 cents to 51.62 dollars a barrel in London.

In other energy trading, wholesale gasoline rose 1 cent to 1.61 dollars a gallon. Heating oil edged up 1 cent to 1.51 dollars a gallon. Natural gas jumped 9 cents, or 3.2%, to 3.04 dollars per 1,000 cubic feet.

Britain's FTSE 100 edged up 0.1%. France's CAC-40 fell 0.3% and the DAX in Germany declined 0.4%. Hong Kong's Hang Seng index gained 0.8% and the Kospi in South Korea shed 0.4%. Japanese markets were closed for a holiday.