Stocks Sink as Tech Companies Fall

NEW YORK (AP) -- U.S. stocks are taking broad losses Thursday, led by declines in technology companies. Cisco Systems dropped after issuing a disappointing sales forecast, and retailers were also weak as Wal-Mart slumped. Bond prices continued to climb, sending yields lower, a trend that began a day ago after the Federal Reserve released minutes from its latest meeting.

KEEPING SCORE: The Standard & Poor's 500 index dropped 30 points, or 1.2 percent, to 2,437 as of 3:15 p.m. Eastern time. The Dow Jones industrial average declined 206 points, or 0.9 percent, to 21,818. The Nasdaq composite lost 104 points, or 1.6 percent, to 6,240. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks fell 17 points, or 1.3 percent, to 1,366.

WAL-MART HITS A WALL: Wal-Mart Stores did better than analysts expected in the second quarter as shoppers spent more money on its website and more people came to its stores. Wal-Mart stock has rallied over the last month, but Thursday's results weren't enough to keep that going. The stock lost $1.46, or 1.8 percent, to $79.52.

L Brands, the parent of Victoria's Secret, tumbled after it cut its annual profit forecast because of weakening sales. The stock retreated $1.93, or 4.9 percent, to $37.03, and it's down 44 percent this year as retailers slump overall and the company struggles after it decided to stop selling swimwear.

Other retailers slipped as well. Amazon fell $14.16, or 1.4 percent, to $964.02 and Macy's lost 50 cents, or 2.5 percent, to $19.64.

ROUTER OUTAGE: Cisco Systems fell $1.45, or 4.5 percent, to $30.89 after it said sales will decline in the current quarter. It's expecting a decline of 1 to 3 percent from the $12.4 billion in revenue it reported a year ago.

Data storage company NetApp offered a forecast for the current quarter that disappointed investors. Its stock lost $2.81, or 6.6 percent, to $39.60. Elsewhere, Apple retreated $2.63, or 1.6 percent, to $158.32 while software maker Adobe Systems skidded $2.78, or 1.8 percent, to $149.02 and chipmaker Texas Instruments fell $2.04, or 2.5 percent, to $80.42.

THE QUOTE: "The release of the FOMC minutes (Wednesday) seemed to make a little bit of a change in tone," said Bill Northey, chief investment officer at U.S. Bank Wealth Management. He said the Federal Reserve's decision makers are getting more cautious about raising interest rates too quickly. That's pushing interest rates lower, which hurts banks and is better for big-dividend payers like utilities, which held up fairly well during Thursday's selling.

NEWS OVERLOAD: Stocks are on track for one of their worst days of 2017. Along with the dip in interest rates, investors are trying to assess the state of President Donald Trump's agenda as he continues to face criticism over his comments after the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, over the weekend. After he was elected, investors hoped his proposals for tax cuts and infrastructure spending would boost corporate profits.

"Most of the agenda ... has been a little bit distracted by non-economic factors," said Northey.

Investors also looked for safer investments after a deadly van attack in Barcelona that killed at least 13 people and injured 50.

EARNINGS GAINS: Overall it's been another strong quarter of corporate earnings. Per-share profits for S&P 500 companies have grown almost 11 percent in the second quarter versus the same period a year ago. Profits for energy companies have quadrupled because the price of oil has stabilized, and technology companies have also posted big gains. Consumer-focused companies haven't done as well.

BONDS: Bond prices rose. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 2.20 percent from 2.23 percent.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude rose 31 cents to $47.09 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, added 76 cents, or 1.5 percent, to $51.03 a barrel in London.

Wholesale gasoline added 2 cents to $1.59 per gallon. Heating oil picked up 1 cent to $1.58 a gallon. Natural gas gained 4 cents to $2.93 per 1,000 cubic feet.

METALS: Gold rose $9.50 to $1,292.40 an ounce. Silver added 11 cents to $17.05 an ounce. Copper lost 2 cents to $2.94 a pound.

CURRENCIES: The dollar dipped to 109.67 yen from 110.16 yen. The euro fell to $1.1742 from $1.1769.

OVERSEAS: Germany's DAX fell 0.5 percent and the CAC 40 of France shed 0.6 percent. Britain's FTSE 100 also gave up 0.6 percent. The Japanese Nikkei 225 index edged 0.1 percent lower and Hong Kong's Hang Seng dropped 0.2 percent. In South Korea, the Kospi gained 0.6 percent.

(BE)