Energy Companies Drag Stocks Lower

Energy Companies Drag Stocks Lower

NEW YORK (AP) -- Stocks were inching lower at midday Wednesday as weakness in energy companies dragged down the broader market. Investors were also looking over job figures from a payroll processing company ahead of Friday's employment report from the government. Media companies were getting hit hard.

KEEPING SCORE: The Dow Jones industrial average lost 34 points, or 0.2 percent, to 17,883 as of 12:10 p.m. Eastern. The Standard & Poor's 500 index lost six points, or 0.3 percent, to 2,104 and the Nasdaq composite fell seven points, or 0.1 percent, to 5,139.

JOBS, JOBS, JOBS: A report out from payroll processor ADP showed that American businesses added a solid but unspectacular 182,000 jobs in October. In its report, ADP also revised September's figure down to 190,000 from 200,000.

The ADP report is a precursor to the more important government jobs report, which is due out Friday. Investors expect that U.S. employers added 185,000 jobs in October and that the unemployment rate remained steady at 5.1 percent.

The October jobs report is widely seen as an important gauge for whether or not the Fed will raise interest rates at its December meeting.

"Everyone is so focused on the world's central banks at the moment they don't seem to care about anything else," said Colleen Supran with the San Francisco-based wealth management firm Bingham, Osborn & Scarborough.

REVERSE COURSE: Energy stocks have been a significant catalyst for the market's upward move for the last few days, but that momentum is fading. The price of crude oil fell $1.34, or nearly 3 percent, to $46.55 a barrel in New York. Brent crude oil, used to price oil internationally, fell $1.53, also 3 percent, to $49.01 a barrel in London.

Some of the biggest gainers on Monday and Tuesday were now among the biggest decliners. Chesapeake Energy fell 60 cents, or 6.6 percent, to $7.11 and Noble Energy fell $1.09, or 3 percent, to $37.65.

STATIC: Media companies fell sharply after Time Warner gave a worrisome earnings forecast for 2016. The company cited concerns about "cord-cutting," a phenomenon that's been increasing in recent years where long-time cable TV subscribers have cancelled or substantially curtailed their subscriptions, opting instead for cheaper online services like HBO GO or Netflix.

Time Warner fell $6.30, or 8.2 percent, to $70.91, Viacom fell $3.36, or 6.6 percent, to $47.93 and Twenty-First Century Fox lost $1.85, or 6 percent, to $29.43. Netflix gained $4.22, or 3.8 percent, to $113.98.

IT'S ELECTRIC! Tesla Motors shares jumped $20.61, or 10 percent, to $228.91. While the company announced a wider-than-expected loss for the quarter, the company also said it was boosting car production.

IN FASHION: Michael Kors Holdings, the clothing and handbag company owned by its namesake designer, rose $4.69, or 12 percent, to $44.03 after the company reported revenue and profits in the latest quarter that were stronger than analysts expected.

BONDS, CURRENCIES: Bond prices fell for a third straight day. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 2.23 percent from 2.21 percent late Tuesday. The dollar rose to 121.45 yen from 121.04 late Tuesday. The euro weakened to $1.0867 from $1.0966.

(BAS)