Stocks skid as GE tumbles and technology companies fall

Stocks skid as GE tumbles and technology companies fall
"Wall St" engraved on a building in New York. (Mark Lennihan / AP)

Industrial and technology companies and retailers all stumbled Monday as U.S. stocks began the week with losses. General Electric suffered its worst one-day loss in six years following downgrades from analysts.

After a mixed start, stocks turned lower in afternoon trading. GE's struggles weighed on industrial companies, while big technology companies like Facebook and Alphabet sank. Investors did far more selling than buying as a seven-day winning streak ended.


The Standard & Poor's 500 index closed at an all-time high every day last week — an occurrence that hadn't happened since March 1998, according to S&P Dow Jones Indices. Monday, however, was the worst day for stocks in about seven weeks, but it was still a fairly small decline, as almost nothing has seriously rattled investors this year.

The S&P 500 lost 10.23 points, or 0.4%, to 2,564.98. The Dow Jones industrial average fell 54.67 points, or 0.2%, to 23,273.96. The Nasdaq composite dropped 42.23 points, or 0.6%, to 6,586.83. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks sank 11.75 points, or 0.8%, to 1,497.49.

General Electric took its biggest single-day loss since August 2011 after analysts at UBS and Morgan Stanley lowered their ratings on its stock. GE stock has been slumping all year, but it had edged higher Friday as investors reacted positively to the conglomerate's third-quarter results. Analysts were less optimistic Monday, as Christopher Belfiore of UBS cut his 2018 and 2019 profit estimates for GE and said it's likely to reduce its dividend payments.

The stock fell $1.51, or 6.3%, to $22.32. It's down 29% this year.

Other industrial firms also took losses. Equipment rental company United Rentals lost $2.92, or 2%, to $141.48. Arconic, which makes aluminum parts for the aerospace and other industries, fell $2.52, or 9.2%, to $24.65 after it disclosed a smaller-than-expected profit and named former GE executive Charles Blankenship as its next CEO.

Hasbro tumbled after its sales forecast fell short of Wall Street estimates. The company said the recent bankruptcy of Toys R Us hurt its business. Its stock gave up $8.44, or 8.6%, to $89.75 and competitor Mattel fell 51 cents, or 3.2%, to $15.46.

Other consumer-focused companies also declined. Under Armour fell 63 cents, or 3.6%, to $16.85 after the Wall Street Journal reported that co-founder Kip Fulks' plans to take a sabbatical from the company, and that Under Armour may exit its camping and hiking apparel business. Amazon slipped $16.63, or 1.7%, to $966.30.

Several companies struck deals over the weekend. Communications software maker BroadSoft agreed to be bought by Cisco Systems for $55 a share, or $1.9 billion. The stock added 90 cents, or 1.7%, to $54.80. It has climbed 27% since Aug. 29, when reports said BroadSoft was considering a sale. Cisco rose 10 cents to $34.35.

Aetna will sell its U.S. group life and disability insurance businesses to Hartford Financial Services for $1.45 billion. Hartford, which also reported its third-quarter results on Monday, fell $2.43, or 4.3%, to $54.06. Aetna gained 63 cents to $161.47.

Bond prices edged higher. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note slid to 2.37% from 2.38%.

Benchmark U.S. crude added 6 cents to $51.90 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, lost 38 cents to $57.37 a barrel in London.

Wholesale gasoline stayed at $1.68 a gallon. Heating oil lost 2 cents to $1.79 a gallon. Natural gas jumped 8 cents, or 2.6%, to $2.99 per 1,000 cubic feet.

Gold inched up 40 cents to $1,280.90 an ounce. Silver remained at $17.08 an ounce. Copper rose 2 cents to $3.19 a pound.

The dollar rose to 113.73 yen from 113.50 yen. The euro fell to $1.173 from $1.1780.


The CAC 40 in France rose 0.3%, and Germany's DAX rose 0.1%. In Britain, the FTSE 100 was little changed.

Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 jumped 1.1% after Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's ruling Liberal Democratic Party scored a win in the nationwide parliamentary election Sunday. The South Korean Kospi finished little changed, and Hong Kong's Hang Seng fell 0.6%.


2:30 p.m.: This article was updated after the close of markets.

9 a.m.: This article was updated with more recent market information.

This article was originally published at 6:55 a.m.