Retailers, tech companies weigh on US stocks; Oil prices up

U.S. stock indexes declined in midday trading Friday as losses in retailers and internet and technology companies outweighed gains elsewhere in the market. Health care companies and utilities were among the big gainers. Energy stocks rose as crude oil prices headed higher for the third day in a row.

KEEPING SCORE: The S&P 500 index fell 6 points, or 0.2 percent, to 2,723 as of noon a.m. Eastern Time. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 8 points, or 0.3 percent, to 25,280. The Nasdaq composite lost 55 points, or 0.8 percent, to 7,203. The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies gave up 6 points, or 0.4 percent, to $1,517. The stock indexes were on course end the week with hefty loss.

CRYPTO FALLOUT: Shares in technology stocks skidded, led by Nvidia. The chipmaker plunged 17.3 percent to $167.31 after saying it had a large number of unsold chips because of a big drop in mining of cryptocurrencies.

SHIELDED? Troubled California power provider PG&E surged 34.2 percent to $23.81 after the president of the utility's state regulator said it was essential for a power company to have the financial strength to operate safely. The remark late Thursday by California Public Utilities Commission President Michael Picker appeared to reassure investors that regulators might limit the potential financial hit that PG&E faces from the devastating wildfire in Northern California, which started Nov. 8 and has killed at least 56 people.

RETAIL RATTLED: Nordstrom cratered 13.5 percent to $51.02 after the department store issued weak guidance for the full year. That disappointing outlook overshadowed the company's third-quarter results, which topped Wall Street's estimates.

UNDERCOOKED: Williams-Sonoma tumbled 11.9 percent to $53.40 after the cookware seller said products were delayed because of shipping congestion out of China ahead of U.S. tariffs.

FEELING GOOD: Health care stocks were among the biggest gainers. Bristol-Myers Squibb gained 1.1 percent to $53.84.

IN STRIDE: Shoe Carnival climbed 3.3 percent to $38.30 after the company reported earnings that were much higher than analysts were forecasting.

ENERGY: Oil prices headed higher, adding to gains from a two-day winning streak. Benchmark U.S. crude oil rose 1 percent to $57.02 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, gained 0.9 percent to $67.23 a barrel in London. Despite the latest uptick, U.S. crude oil is still down about 12.7 percent for the month.

The pickup in oil prices helped lift energy stocks. Helmerich & Payne rose 2.4 percent to $61.47.

BOND YIELDS: Bond prices rose. The 10-year Treasury fell to 3.08 percent from 3.11 percent late Thursday.

CURRENCIES: The dollar fell to 112.82 yen from 113.58 yen on Thursday. The euro strengthened to $1.1407 from $1.1348. The pound rose to $1.2842 from $1.2791.

OVERSEAS: Major European stock indexes were subdued as trade tensions and political risks surrounding Britain's exit from the European Union kept investors cautious. Germany's DAX was flat and France's CAC lost 0.1 percent. Britain's FTSE 100 gave up 0.1 percent. In Asia, Japan's Nikkei 225 index lost 0.6 percent while the Hang Seng in Hong Kong added 0.3 percent. South Korea's Kospi rose 0.2 percent.

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