Stocks Lower on Car Sales Reports

Stocks Lower on Car Sales Reports

NEW YORK (AP) -- U.S. stocks are mostly lower in early trading Monday, the first day of trading in the second quarter. Tesla is rising after it disclosed a jump in quarterly deliveries, but other car makers are slipping after reporting March sales figures that disappointed investors. Banks and energy companies are trading lower as well. Gains for insurance companies are leading health care stocks higher.

KEEPING SCORE: The Standard & Poor's 500 index lost 4 points, or 0.2 percent, to 2,358 as of 10:20 a.m. Eastern time. The Dow Jones industrial average fell 25 points, or 0.1 percent, to 20,638. The Nasdaq composite shed 2 points to 5,909. The Russell 2000 index of small-company stocks gave up 7 points, or 0.6 percent, to 1,378.

HONK IF YOU'RE SELLING: Auto sales have reached all-time highs in recent years and they're expected to rise in March as well, but analysts fear they've plateaued and will start slowing down soon. That hurt car makers and parts suppliers on Monday.

Ford's sales slumped 7.5 percent as sales of SUVs slipped and car sales plunged because of some big fleet sales the company reported a year ago. Fiat Chrysler said its totals sales declined 5 percent. Ford gave up 27 cents, or 2.3 percent, to $11.37 and Fiat Chrysler lost 38 cents, or 3.5 percent, to $10.55. General Motors said its sales grew 2 percent, but that didn't excite investors. Its stock fell $1.08, or 3.1 percent, to $34.28.

Tesla said over the weekend that its deliveries jumped 69 percent in the first quarter to a record 25,000. The electric car company's stock climbed $13.98, or 5 percent, to $292.28.

Auto parts retailer O'Reilly Automotive dropped $12.31, or 4.6 percent, to $257.53 and AutoZone and $18.98, or 2.6 percent, to $704.07.

NOVOCURE SURGES: Medical device company Novocure jumped after a study of its Optune device, which uses electric fields to fight cancer, appeared to improve survival for patients with aggressive brain tumors. Over the weekend the company said 13 percent of patients treated with the device as well as chemotherapy were still alive after five years, compared to 5 percent for the patients who received only chemotherapy. Many doctors are skeptical of the product, and it's costly, at $21,000 a month. Optune is sold in the U.S. and three other countries. Novocure stock climbed $3.90, or 48.1 percent, to $12.

WRONG SIDE OF THE BED: The biggest losses included utility companies and banks. Bank of America declined 22 cents to $23.38 and Charles Schwab dipped 38 cents to $40.43. FirstEnergy fell 38 cents, or 1.2 percent, to $31.44.

IN THE PINK: Health care companies rose as major insurers traded higher. Cigna rose $3.57, or 2.4 percent, to $150.06 and Humana picked up $3.69, or 1.8 percent, to $209.83. Aetna gained $1.94, or 1.5 percent, to $129.49 while UnitedHealth added $1.86, or 1.1 percent, to $165.87.

BONDS: Bond prices ticked higher. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 2.37 percent from 2.39 percent.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude lost 11 cents to $50.49 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, slipped 14 cents to $53.39 a barrel in London. Energy companies traded lower.

CURRENCIES: The dollar rose to 111.42 yen from 111.29 yen and the euro fell to $1.0664 from $1.0684.

OVERSEAS: In Germany, the DAX held steady while France's CAC 40 slipped 0.4 percent. The FTSE 100 of Britain edged down 0.2 percent. Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 added 0.4 percent and the Kospi in South Korea rose 0.3 percent. Hong Kong's Hang Seng gained 0.5 percent.