Stocks Mostly Lower Midday, Oil Slips

Stocks Mostly Lower Midday, Oil Slips

(AP) -- A slide in crude oil prices weighed on energy companies, pulling U.S. stock indexes mostly lower in afternoon trading Monday. Technology stocks also fell. Utilities rose, while retailers posted solid gains on reports the holiday shopping season is off to a strong start. Several companies were also moving on deal news.

KEEPING SCORE: The Standard & Poor's 500 index was down less than 1 point to 2,601 as of 1 p.m. Eastern time. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 30 points, or 0.1 percent, to 23,588. The Nasdaq composite fell 11 points, or 0.2 percent, to 6,877. More stocks fell than rose on the New York Stock Exchange.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude fell 89 cents, or 1.5 percent, to $58.06 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, used to price international oils, declined 27 cents, or 0.4 percent, to $63.20 in London.

The decline in crude prices weighed on energy stocks. Marathon Oil lost 58 cents, or 3.8 percent, to $14.55. Hess gave up $1.30, or 2.9 percent, to $43.10.

NOT SO CHIPPER: Shares in chipmakers were among the market's laggards, led by Western Digital. The stock was the biggest decliner in the S&P 500, sliding $6.28, or 6.8 percent, to $86.50.

RETAIL RISING: Several retailers moved higher as the holiday shopping season moved into high gear. Shoppers are expected to spend $6.6 billion on Cyber Monday, up more than 16 percent from a year ago, according to Adobe Analytics, the research arm of software maker Adobe. Amazon added $10.42, or 0.9 percent, to $1,196.42. L Brands climbed $1.88, or 3.9 percent, to $50.24. Gap picked up 39 cents, or 1.3 percent, to $30.03.

TIMELY DEAL: Better Homes & Gardens publisher Meredith said Sunday that it will buy Time for $1.8 billion, or $18.50 a share. To get the deal done, Meredith got $650 million from Koch Equity Development. Time surged $1.58, or 9.3 percent, to $18.48, while Meredith gained $7.20, or 11.8 percent, to $68.20.

GOING PRIVATE: Barracuda Networks jumped 16.4 percent after the cloud-based security company agreed to be taken private. The stock rose $3.88 to $27.57.

FIRED UP: Firearms makers rose after requests for federal background checks for gun purchases jumped 9 percent on Black Friday from a year earlier. American Outdoor Brands, the parent of Smith & Wesson, picked up 35 cents, or 2.6 percent, to $13.63. Sturm, Ruger & Co. added $1.20, or 2.4 percent, to $51.15.

PLUGGED IN: Utilities also posted solid gains. CenterPoint energy rose 51 cents, or 1.8 percent, to $29.54.

BONDS: Bond prices were little changed. The yield on the 10-year Treasury held at 2.34 percent.

CURRENCIES: The dollar weakened to 111.02 yen from 111.58 yen. The euro fell to $1.1904 from $1.1927.

MARKETS OVERSEAS: In Europe, Germany's DAX fell 0.5 percent, while France's CAC 40 lost 0.6 percent. Britain's FTSE 100 slid 0.3 percent. Earlier in Asia, Tokyo's Nikkei 225 lost 0.2 percent, while Seoul's Kospi fell 1.4 percent. Hong Kong's Hang Seng declined 0.6 percent. India's Sensex lost 0.2 percent and Sydney's S&P-ASX 200 edged up 0.1 percent.