US stocks are mixed as investors examine storm’s effects


Updated 11:43 am, Monday, August 28, 2017

NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stock indexes are slightly higher in light trading Monday as health care and technology companies are rising. Biotechnology companies are up after Gilead Sciences agreed to buy cancer drug maker Kite Pharma for $11.9 billion. As Tropical Storm Harvey continues to dump rain on the Texas Gulf Coast, insurance companies and oil drilling companies are falling while gasoline prices are rising.


KEEPING SCORE: The Standard & Poor’s 500 index added 1 point, or 0.1 percent, to 2,444 as of 11:30 a.m. Eastern time. The Dow Jones industrial average dipped 22 points, or 0.1 percent, to 21,791 as insurance company Travelers stumbled. The Nasdaq composite rose 21 points, or 0.3 percent, to 6,286. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks gained 2 points, or 0.2 percent, to 1,379. Most of the stocks on the New York Stock Exchange fell.

KITE GOES SOARING: Gilead Sciences, which makes treatments for hepatitis C, HIV and other illnesses, will buy Kite Pharma for $11.9 billion, or $180 a share. Kite is studying treatments that can reprogram a patient’s immune cells to attack tumors, and it hopes to win approval this year for a blood cancer treatment. Kite is one of several companies researching CAR-T therapies, and Kite and Gilead hope it will win marketing approval later this year.

Kite Pharma stock jumped $39.59, or 28.5 percent, to $178.69. Gilead gained $1.865, or 2.5 percent, to $75.65, and biotechnology companies like Biogen, Amgen and Celgene also rose.

STORMY WEATHER: Tropical Storm Harvey continued to hit parts of Texas with historically heavy rains. The National Weather Service says some parts of Houston and its suburbs could end up with as much as 50 inches of rain before the storm abates, which isn’t expected to happen for days. The storm has shut down Texas’ oil and gas industry, but it’s unclear how much damage has been done. S&P Global analysts said about 2.2 million barrels per day of refining capacity was down or being brought down by Sunday.

Wholesale gasoline futures jumped 4 percent, or 2.6 percent, to $1.58 a gallon. Refining companies climbed, as they stand to benefit from higher gas prices. Valero Energy rose $1.23, or 1.8 percent, to $68.91 and Marathon Petroleum advanced 76 cents, or 1.5 percent, to $52.48.

Companies that drill for oil and operate offshore oil rigs fell because of the shutdowns. Apache fell 86 cents, or 2.1 percent, to $39.21 and Anadarko Petroleum lost 97 cents, or 2.3 percent, to $41.39. Helmerich & Payne gave up $1.69, or 3.8 percent, to $43.09.

BOOKED HIS DEPARTURE: Expedia slumped after sources told the AP that Dara Khosrowshahi, the travel booking site’s CEO, was named as the new CEO of ride-hailing app Uber. Khosrowshahi has been CEO of Expedia since August of 2015. Two people briefed on the decision said Uber’s board voted to hire him after three days of meetings, but the company had not yet formally announced the decision. Expedia’s stock lost $6.37, or 4.3 percent, to $142.89.

INSURANCE WOES: Insurance companies declined as investors worried that flooding from Harvey will lead to big losses. Travelers slumped $3.62, or 2.9 percent, to $122.97. Progressive shed $1.34, or 2.8 percent, to $47.06 and Chubb skidded $2.06, or 1.4 percent, to $141.57.

OIL: Benchmark U.S. crude fell $1.20, or 2.5 percent, to $46.67 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, the international standard, lost 62 cents, or 1.2 percent, to $51.36 a barrel in London.

CURRENCIES: The euro reached its highest level since the beginning of 2015. It rose to $1.1969 from $1.1888. The European currency has been climbing recently because investors feel the European Central Bank isn’t going to take steps to keep the euro from getting stronger. That would make exports from European countries more expensive in other markets.

The dollar inched down to 109.21 yen from 109.24 yen late Friday.

BONDS: Bond prices were little changed. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note stayed at 2.17 percent.

OVERSEAS: The CAC 40 in France fell 0.4 percent and the DAX in Germany sank 0.2 percent. British markets were closed for a public holiday. Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 index took a negligible loss and the South Korean Kospi lost 0.4 percent. The Hang Seng in Hong Kong rose less than 0.1 percent.

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AP Markets Writer Marley Jay can be reached at http://twitter.com/MarleyJayAP His work can be found at https://apnews.com/search/marley%20jay

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