Stocks Get Wobbly Start Wednesday

(AP) -- Stock indexes veered between small gains and losses in early trading Wednesday on Wall Street as the market cooled off after posting solid gains a day earlier.

Losses in technology, health care and energy companies outweighed gains in industrial and consumer discretionary sector stocks.

Western Digital led the technology sector slide with a loss of 2.4 percent.

Banks fell as bond prices rose, pulling yields lower, which cuts into lenders' ability to charge higher rates on loans. U.S. Bancorp was down 0.8 percent.

The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note dipped to 2.39 percent from 2.41 percent late Tuesday. That remained below the yield on the three-month Treasury bill, which many see as a warning sign that a recession could be looming.

Industrial stocks notched the biggest gains, led by airlines. Southwest Airlines rose 2.8 percent, Delta Air Lines added 2.6 percent and American Airlines Group picked up 2.7 percent.

Homebuilders drove gains in consumer discretionary sector stocks. Lennar gained 3.4 percent and PulteGroup rose 3.3 percent.

U.S. stocks remain on track to finish the quarter with solid gains at the end of this week, even after renewed investor jitters over slowing global economic growth led to a sharp sell-off last week and a choppy start to trading this week.

Investors are still waiting to see how the U.S. and China will resolve their costly trade dispute, with high-level talks between Washington and Beijing scheduled to resume Thursday. They're also looking ahead to the next batch of corporate earnings reports, which start to roll in next week.

KEEPING SCORE: The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 18 points, or 0.1 percent, to 25,675 as of 10:14 a.m. Eastern Time. The S&P 500 index was essentially flat and the Nasdaq composite slipped 0.1 percent. The Russell 2000 index of smaller company stocks was down 0.3 percent.

The benchmark S&P 500 index is up more than 12 percent so far in 2019, an unusually strong start to a year.

Major European indexes were moving mostly higher Wednesday as investors kept a close eye on developments in Britain, where lawmakers were debating various alternatives for the country's split from the European Union.

HEALTHY COMBO: WellCare Health Plans jumped 10.2 percent after the company agreed to be acquired by rival Centene for more than $15 billion. Centene shares slid 7.6 percent.

Both companies are big players in the Affordable Care Act market. The deal comes two days day after the Trump administration attacked the ACA in court, saying that former President Barack Obama's health care law should be declared unconstitutional.

ON SOUND FOOTING: Shoe Carnival jumped 20 percent after the retailer's fourth-quarter earnings and revenue exceeded analysts' forecasts.

(BE)