US stock indexes head lower in early trading


AP Business Writer

U.S. stocks veered lower in early trading Friday as investors pored through earnings from General Electric, McDonald’s and other big companies. Energy stocks were down the most as crude oil prices headed lower. Technology companies bucked the broader downward trend.

KEEPING SCORE: The Dow Jones industrial average slid 99 points, or 0.6 percent, to 18,063 as of 10:30 a.m. Eastern time. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index fell 7 points, or 0.4 percent, to 2,133. The Nasdaq composite index slipped 2 points to 5,239.

GE SLUMPS: General Electric slid 2.1 percent after the company said its latest quarterly sales fell more than anticipated due to weaker results from its lighting and transportation businesses. The industrial conglomerate also trimmed its revenue forecast for the year. The stock lost 61 cents to $28.46. The slide weighed on industrial stocks overall, which were down 0.9 percent.

UGLY STREAK: Skechers U.S.A. slumped 17.2 percent after the footwear maker reported disappointing results for the second quarter in a row. The stock fell $3.94 to $19.01.

HANGOVER: Boston Beer was down 4.9 percent after the company posted weak revenue as sales of craft beer grow at a slower pace. The maker of Sam Adams Beer also cut its guidance. The stock shed $7.65 to $148.60.

HAPPY MEAL: McDonald’s rose 2.7 percent after the world’s biggest hamburger chain served up earnings and revenue that exceeded Wall Street’s expectations. The stock added $2.98 to $113.55.

STRATEGY PAYS OFF: Microsoft climbed 4.5 percent a day after the software giant posted a surprisingly high profit for its fiscal first quarter. The results help validate the company’s increased focus on software and online services. The stock gained $2.56 to $59.81. That’s above Microsoft’s all-time closing high of $59.56 set in December 1999.

TOBACCO DEAL: Shares in Reynolds American jumped 16.4 percent after London-based British American Tobacco offered to buy out the 57.8 percent stake in Reynolds that it doesn’t already own. Reynolds was evaluating the offer, which analysts say would help both sides overcome a decline in smoking rates in their home markets and competition from electronic cigarettes. Reynolds climbed $7.75 to $54.92.

MARKETS OVERSEAS: World stock markets drifted lower as investors increasingly factored in the likelihood of a U.S. interest rate increase this year. Germany’s DAX was down 0.2 percent, while France’s CAC 40 was 0.4 percent lower. Britain’s FTSE 100 was down 0.1 percent. Earlier in Asia, Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 index lost 0.3 percent, while South Korea’s Kospi lost 0.4 percent. Hong Kong’s stock market was closed due to a typhoon.

OIL: Benchmark U.S. crude rose 25 cents to $50.89 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, was up 7 cents at $51.45 a barrel in London.

BONDS AND CURRENCIES: Bond prices rose. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 1.75 percent from 1.76 late Thursday. In currency markets, the slipped to 103.69 yen from 103.95 on Thursday. The euro weakened to $1.0877 from $1.0926.