U.S. stock indexes wavered between small gains and losses in early trading Friday as investors weighed several corporate deals and new economic data on consumer spending and prices. Financial stocks were down the most, while utilities posted the biggest gains.
KEEPING SCORE: The Dow Jones industrial average slid 41 points, or 0.2 percent, to 20,687 as of 10:16 a.m. Eastern Time. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index fell 1 point, or 0.1 percent, to 2,366. The Nasdaq composite index lost 2 points to 5,912. The Nasdaq was coming off its latest all-time high.
U.S. ECONOMY: The Commerce Department said consumer spending kept rising in February, though gains the last two months have been slow. Meanwhile, an inflation gauge closely watched by the Federal Reserve increased 2.1 percent in February compared to a year ago.
STRONG QUARTER: DXP Enterprises jumped 11.5 percent after the industrial products company reported a profit and better-than-expected sales in the fourth quarter. The stock added $3.76 to $36.50.
DIALED IN: BlackBerry surged 15 percent after the company delivered a surprise fourth-quarter profit. Its shares picked up $1.38 to $10.65.
ACQUISITION AGREEMENT: TRC vaulted 45.6 percent after the engineering and consulting services company agreed to be bought by a unit of the investment firm New Mountain Capital for $17.55 a share, or $365.5 million. The stock climbed $5.45 to $17.40.
DOUBLE DEAL: FMC has agreed to buy part of DuPont’s crop protection business, while DuPont has agreed to buy FMC’s health and nutrition unit. FMC will get $1.6 billion, mostly in cash. Antitrust regulators in Europe wanted DuPont to make the sale as part of its combination with competitor Dow Chemical. Shares in FMC jumped $9.78, or 15.9 percent, to $71.28. DuPont shares fell $1.06, or 1.3 percent, to $80.58.
MARKETS OVERSEAS: In Europe, Germany’s DAX and France’s CAC 40 were both essentially flat. The FTSE 100 index of leading British shares was down 0.4 percent. In Asia, Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng each fell 0.8 percent. Sydney’s S&P-ASX 200 declined 0.5 percent. Seoul’s Kospi fell 0.2 percent. India’s Sensex gave up 0.2 percent, while Taiwan and New Zealand rose.
TREASURY YIELDS: Bond prices edged higher. The 10-year Treasury yield fell to 2.41 percent from 2.42 percent late Thursday.
ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude fell 11 cents to $50.24 per barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, rose 3 cents to $53.16.
CURRENCIES: The euro weakened to $1.0677 from $1.0691 on Thursday. The dollar fell to 110.72 yen from 111.60 yen.
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