Stocks Steady as Oil Prices Fall

NEW YORK (AP) -- U.S. stocks are little changed Wednesday morning. Energy companies are declining with the price of oil and a weak forecast from wireless equipment maker Ericsson is putting pressure on technology stocks. However stocks that pay big dividends are rising even though bond yields have risen to four-month highs.

KEEPING SCORE: The Dow Jones industrial average edged up 2 points to 18,131 as of 10:15 a.m. Eastern time. The Standard & Poor's 500 index added 2 points, or 0.1 percent, to 2,138. The Nasdaq composite lost 3 points, or 0.1 percent, to 5,244.

NO RECEPTION: Wireless equipment maker LM Ericsson plunged after it forecast disappointing quarterly results and said it doesn't expect improvement any time soon. Its stock lost $1.32, or 18.8 percent, to $5.69. Also struggling were Juniper Networks, which fell 52 cents, or 2.2 percent, to $23.42 while F5 Networks gave up $3.22, or 2.6 percent, to $118.59.

TOOL UP: Stanley Black & Decker agreed to buy the tools business of consumer products maker Newell Brands for $1.95 billion. The deal will give Stanley Black & Decker brands including Irwin and Lennox and will help Newell Brands simplify its business after its purchases of Jarden and Elmer's within the last year. Stanley Black & Decker gained $2.23, or 1.9 percent, to $119.89 and Newell Brands rose 73 cents, or 1.5 percent, to $51.07.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude oil slid 52 cents, or 1 percent, to $50.27 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, the international standard, fell 42 cents to $51.99 a barrel in London. Among energy stocks, Valero Energy lost $1.24, or 2.3 percent, to $52.95 and Chevron gave up $1.16, or 1.1 percent, to $101.88.

BONDS: Bond prices fell. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note climbed to 1.79 percent from 1.76 percent. Investors still sent shares of utility and real estate companies higher. WEC Energy picked up 55 cents, or 1 percent, to $57.14 and Crown Castle International added $1.17, or 1.3 percent, to $90.17. Companies like utilities and real estate investment trusts pay large dividends and are seen as similar to bonds, which means they usually do better when bond yields fall.

UNFORTUNATE FORTINET: Network security company Fortinet fell after it released disappointing third-quarter estimates. The company said its customers are taking their time before buying, and its new sales organization struggled in North America. The stock shed $4.44, or 13 percent, to $29.66.

BARRACUDA SWIMS: Cloud-based security and storage company Barracuda Networks gained $2.45, or 10.5 percent, to $25.78 after it reported a larger profit and better sales than expected.

CURRENCIES: The dollar rose to 103.92 yen from 103.41 yen. The euro fell to $1.1039 from $1.1053. The British pound inched up to $1.2230 from $1.2133 but remains at its lowest levels in decades.

OVERSEAS: France's CAC 40 slipped 0.4 percent and the DAX in Germany fell 0.6 percent. Britain's FTSE 100 was down 0.4 percent. Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 lost 1.1 percent and South Korea's Kospi inched up 0.1 percent. Hong Kong's Hang Seng slipped 1 percent.

(KA)