Retail and media stocks pull indexes down from highs

Retail and media stocks pull indexes down from highs
Among the decliners, AT&T had its worst one-day loss since 2008 after it said it lost more satellite and cable TV subscribers in the third quarter. (Richard Drew / Associated Press)

U.S. stock indexes retreated from their record highs Thursday as retailers and media companies declined and investors shrugged at quarterly reports from a few big banks.

Clothing companies and other retailers fell after women's clothing company J. Jill slashed its third-quarter forecast. The company's stock lost more than half its value.


AT&T had its worst one-day loss since 2008 after it said it lost more satellite and cable TV subscribers in the third quarter. Other cable and satellite TV companies also stumbled. Industrial companies and household goods makers finished higher.

JPMorgan Chase and Citigroup did better than analysts expected in the third quarter, but their stocks fell, and so did those of other banks. Banks have made big gains over the last month.

CFRA Investment Strategist Lindsey Bell said the companies reported good results from their consumer banking businesses, but other divisions didn't do as well.

"The bar was set kind of high," Bell said. "Given the run that these stocks have had into these earnings reports, they're going to need to see these other businesses pick up steam."

The Standard & Poor's 500 index fell 4.31 points to 2,550.93. The Dow Jones industrial average slipped 31.88 points to 22,841.01. The Nasdaq composite fell 12.04 points to 6,591.51. Those three indexes closed at record highs Wednesday. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks edged down 1.76 points to 1,505.16.

More stocks rose than fell on the New York Stock Exchange.

AT&T fell 6.1% to $35.86. after it said it lost about 90,000 DirecTV video subscribers in the U.S. in the third quarter because of growing competition in streaming video services. That's a bigger drop than the one it reported a year ago even though it has launched DirecTV Now, an online service that doesn't cost as much. The company said tighter credit standards and hurricanes also affected its business.

Verizon Communications slipped 1% to $48.35. Cable provider Comcast fell 3.8% to $35.95. Dish Network slid 5.1% to $49.03. Cable channel operator Discovery Communications retreated 3.6% to $19.28.

Industrial and transportation companies such as railroads did better than the rest of the market. Machinery maker Caterpillar rose 1.1% to $129.99. Railroad operator Norfolk Southern rose 1.7% to $133.69.

Citigroup said its investment banking business did well last quarter, and JPMorgan Chase said its consumer banking business improved year-over-year. But Citigroup shares fell 3.4% to $72.37, JPMorgan slipped 0.9% to $95.99.

Bell of CFRA Research noted that banks have jumped and regional bank stocks have done especially well over the last month, but the third quarter is a tricky one for many banks because stock and bond market trading is fairly quiet.

J. Jill's stock plunged 51.1% to $4.86 after the retailer of women's clothes, shoes and accessories slashed its outlook for the third quarter. The company said that retail and direct-to-consumer sales both fell short of its expectations and that it cut its earnings forecast in half. J. Jill opened at $13 a share after its March IPO.

Retailer Express tumbled 8.3% to $5.88. Chico's FAS fell 7.2% to $7.40 and Gap sank 4.3% to $27.21.

Southwest Airlines ticked up 0.4% to $58.81 and Hawaiian Airlines' parent, Hawaiian Holdings, fell 2.5% to $39 after Southwest said it plans to start flying to Hawaii. It will start selling tickets for those flights in 2018.


Juniper Networks slid 5.2% to $25.47 after the maker of computer network equipment said its third-quarter results will be weaker than it expected.

Benchmark U.S. crude oil fell 70 cents, or 1.4%, to $50.60 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, fell 69 cents, or 1.2%, to $56.25 a barrel in London. That weighed on energy company stocks.

Wholesale gasoline fell 3 cents to $1.58 a gallon. Heating oil fell 2 cents to $1.77 a gallon. Natural gas jumped 10 cents, or 3.5%, to $2.99 per 1,000 cubic feet.

Bond prices rose. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 2.32% from 2.35%.

Gold rose $7.60 to $1,296.50 an ounce. Silver rose 13 cents to $17.27 an ounce. Copper rose 2 cents to $3.12 a pound.

The dollar inched down to 112.22 yen from 112.42 yen. The euro fell to $1.1836 from $1.1855.

The British FTSE 100 index rose 0.3% and closed at a record high as the pound dropped. That came after a European Union regulator said talks with Britain about its departure from the EU hadn't made any significant progress. The DAX in Germany continued to set records as it inched up 0.1%. France's CAC 40 fell less than 0.1%.

Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 continued to reach 21-year highs, rising 0.4%. The South Korean Kospi rose 0.7%. Hong Kong's Hang Seng advanced 0.3%.


2:45 p.m.: This article was updated with closing prices, context and analyst comment.

This article was originally published at 8:10 a.m.