Stocks Lower in Early Trade

Stocks Lower in Early Trade

(AP) -- U.S. stock indexes moved lower in early trading Thursday, giving up some of their gains from the day before. Technology stocks were down the most. Utilities, real estate companies and other high-dividend stocks also fell. Banks led the gainers after the Federal Reserve said they can buy back more stock and raise their dividends.

KEEPING SCORE: The Standard & Poor's 500 index fell 7 points, or 0.3 percent, to 2,433 as of 10:11 a.m. Eastern time. The Dow Jones industrial average slid 23 points, or 0.1 percent, to 21,431. The Nasdaq composite lost 55 points, or 0.9 percent, to 6,178. The Russell 2000 index of small-company stocks gave up 1 point, or 0.1 percent, to 1,423. The stock market was coming off its biggest gain in two months.

ECONOMIC SNAPSHOT: The Commerce Department said that the nation's gross domestic product, the broadest measure of economic health, increased at an annual rate of 1.4 percent in the first quarter. That's better than the previous estimate of 1.2 percent and double the initial estimate of 0.7 percent. The upgrade reflects new-found strength in consumer spending and exports.

TECH SLIDE: Chipmaker Nvidia fell 2.7 percent as tech companies continued to struggle. The stock shed $4.08 to $147.67.

PARED DEAL: Rite Aid slumped 23.9 percent after Walgreens Boots Alliance ended its bid to buy its rival drugstore chain following resistance from U.S. regulators. Walgreens will now buy more than 2,000 stores, three distribution centers and inventory in a new deal. Rite Aid slid 93 cents to $3. Walgreens gained $2.32, or 3 percent, to $79.41.

DONE DEAL: Staples rose 2 percent after private equity firm Sycamore Partners agreed to buy the office supplies chain for $6.9 billion. Staples gained 20 cents to $10.13.

BANKS BOUNCE: Financial sector stocks surged after the Federal Reserve said 34 of the biggest U.S. banks can buy back more stock and raise their dividends because their balance sheets are strong enough to bear a major downturn in the economy. The Fed's announcement Wednesday afternoon marks the first time that all of the banks have passed their so-called stress tests, which were created after the global financial crisis of 2008.

Citigroup was up $2.17, or 3.3 percent, to $67.35, while JPMorgan Chase rose $1.98, or 2.2 percent, to $91.80. Bank of America gained 65 cents, or 2.7 percent, to $24.53.

CURRENCIES: The dollar rose to 112.75 yen from 112.28 yen late Wednesday. The euro strengthened to $1.1410 from $1.1382. The British pound rose to $1.2984 from $1.2929. European currency markets have been volatile in recent days after leading central bankers appeared to hint to a turn in monetary policy soon.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude was up 25 cents at $44.99 a barrel in New York. Brent, the international standard, was up 39 cents to $47.93 in London.

BOND YIELDS: Bond prices fell. The 10-year Treasury yield rose to 2.29 percent from 2.23 percent late Wednesday.

MARKETS OVERSEAS: Major stock indexes in Europe headed lower. Germany's DAX was down 1.2 percent, while the CAC 40 in France was 1.5 percent lower. The FTSE 100 index of leading British shares was down 0.4 percent. In Asia, Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 index rose 0.5 percent, while South Korea's Kospi gained 0.6 percent. Hong Kong's Hang Seng added 1.1 percent. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 climbed 1.1 percent.

(KA)