US Stocks Mixed Early

US Stocks Mixed Early

NEW YORK (AP) -- U.S. stocks are mixed Wednesday morning as large drugmakers take losses and most other industries move slightly higher. Bond yields are falling, and investors are buying stocks that pay large dividends. That's leading to gains for real estate investment trusts, utilities and phone companies.

KEEPING SCORE: The Dow Jones industrial average edged up 5 points to 19,256 as of 9:55 a.m. Eastern time. The Standard & Poor's 500 index lost 3 points, or 0.1 percent, to 2,209. The Nasdaq composite fell 23 points, or 0.4 percent, to 5,309. The Dow closed at a record high on Tuesday. So did the Russell 2000, an index of smaller companies. The Russell slipped 0.3 percent Wednesday.

BITTER PILL: Major drug companies stumbled at the open. Pfizer gave up 89 cents, or 2.8 percent, to $30.67 and Merck lost $1.38, or 2.3 percent, to $58.90. AbbVie shed $2.27, or 3.7 percent, to $59.35 and Johnson & Johnson fell $2.06, or 1.8 percent, to $110.

BONDS: Bond prices rose. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 2.37 percent from 2.39 percent. Bond yields have risen sharply this year but have taken small losses over the last few days. That's helped stocks that are seen as similar to bonds, like real estate investment trusts. Those stocks are often compared to bonds because their big dividends are attractive to investors who want income. When bond yields fall, investors turn to those stocks. Real estate company Prologis rose $1.11, or 2.2 percent, to $51.81 and energy company Exelon added 46 cents, or 1.4 percent, to $33.51.

GAME ON: Dave & Buster's Entertainment, which owns a chain of restaurants and arcades, reported a bigger profit and higher sales than analysts had expected. The company also raised its forecasts for the year. Its stock jumped $7.36, or 15.3 percent, to $55.36.

WILD WESTERN: Hard drive maker Western Digital climbed $3.10, or 4.9 percent, to $66.95 after it extended a patient licensing deal with Samsung. The new deal will last until the end of 2024. Western Digital raised its revenue outlook after making the announcement.

BAGGED: Handbag and accessories maker Vera Bradley sank after it posted weak results and issued a disappointing outlook for the current quarter. Its stock, which has jumped more than 20 percent this year, shed $1.47, or 10 percent, to $13.20.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude lost 56 cents, or 1.1 percent, to $50.37a barrel in New York. Brent crude, the international standard, slid 49 cents to $53.44 a barrel in London.

EUROPE STIMULUS: Investors are also preparing for the European Central Bank to expand its bond-buying stimulus program on Thursday. The central bank is expected to extend the program beyond the current end date of March. The program aims to push up growth and inflation, buoying stock markets. European stockindexes climbed. Germany's DAX gained 1.5 percent and the FTSE 100 in Britain rose 1.4 percent. The CAC 40 of France picked up 0.8 percent.

CURRENCIES: The dollar slipped to 114.01 yen from 114.05 yen. The euro rose to $1.0743 from $1.0715.

ASIAN MARKETS: Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 rose 0.7 percent and the South Korean Kospi inched up 0.1 percent. The Hang Seng in Hong Kong gained 0.5 percent.

(KA)