Stocks Edge Lower Midday Friday

(AP) -- The major U.S. stock indexes edged lower in midday trading Friday, adding to the market's modest losses from a day earlier. Health care companies were down the most. Energy stocks led the gainers. A new round of tensions between the U.S. and North Korea helped send bond yields lower, which weighed on bank shares.

KEEPING SCORE: The Standard & Poor's 500 index slipped 1 point, or 0.1 percent, to 2,499 as of noon Eastern Time. The Dow Jones industrial average shed 27 points, or 0.1 percent, to 22,331. The Nasdaq composite slid 5 points, or 0.1 percent, to 6,417. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks added 5 points, or 0.4 percent, to 1,449.

NORTH KOREA: Geopolitical tensions ratcheted up after President Donald Trump authorized stiffer sanctions in response to North Korea's nuclear weapons advances, drawing a furious response from Pyongyang. Trump expanded the Treasury Department's ability to target anyone conducting significant trade in goods, services or technology with North Korea, and to ban them from interacting with the U.S. financial system. North Korean leader Kim Jong Un retaliated by calling Trump "deranged" and saying he'll "pay dearly" for his threats.

THE QUOTE: The small moves in U.S. stock indexes suggested investors were shrugging off the latest wave of ramped-up tensions between the U.S. and North Korea, said Erik Davidson, chief investment officer for Wells Fargo Private Bank. He also noted that the VIX, a measure of how much volatility investors expect in stocks, also was little changed.

"Overnight markets had a little bit of weakness based on the North Korea situation, but that has not extended into the U.S. markets today," he said. "The North Korea news has contributed to bonds' strength, but it's interesting that we have not had a commensurate weakness in equities."

BOND MARKET: Bond prices rose. The yield on the 10-year Treasury slipped to 2.25 percent from 2.28 percent late Thursday. The decline weighed on bank shares, including Zions Bancorporation, which was down 35 cents, or 0.8 percent, to $45.01. Lower bond yields mean banks have to charge lower interest rates on long-term loans like mortgages.

BIG DECLINERS: A slide in health care stocks weighed on the market. Envision Healthcare fell $1.23, or 2.7 percent, to $43.53. Centene, which administers Medicaid programs and sells health plans to the Affordable Care Act's exchanges, lost $2.90, or 3.2 percent, to $87.84.

ROCKY OUTLOOK: Compass Minerals slid 9.1 percent after the mining company cut its annual profit forecast after a partial ceiling cave-in at a rock salt mine in Ontario that will slow operations for six weeks. The stock was down $6.35 to $63.15.

DIAL-A-DEAL: Sprint climbed 4.4 percent after Reuters reported the wireless carrier is close to signing a deal with rival T-Mobile. Shares in Sprint added 36 cents to $8.39. T-Mobile gained 41 cents, or 0.6 percent, to $63.80.

IN GEAR: CarMax rose 6.5 percent after the used car retailer's latest quarterly results beat analysts' forecasts. The stock gained $4.47 to $73.31.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude was down 6 cents to $50.49 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, giving up an earlier gain. Brent crude, used to price international oils, added 14 cents to $56.23 a barrel in London.

CURRENCIES: The dollar weakened to 112.02 yen from 112.55 yen on Thursday. The euro climbed to $1.1966 from $1.1934.

MARKETS OVERSEAS: Germany's DAX was flat, while France's CAC 40 gained 0.3 percent. Britain's FTSE 100 rose 0.6 percent. In Asia, markets finished unevenly after S&P downgraded the credit rating for China and Hong Kong. Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 slipped 0.3 percent, while South Korea's Kospi lost 0.7 percent. Hong Kong's Hang Seng shed 0.8 percent.

(BE)