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Sporting Goods Retailers Sink Stocks   08/18 16:08

   U.S. stocks slumped in the final minutes of trading Friday and ended a rough 
week with more losses. 

   NEW YORK (AP) -- U.S. stocks slumped in the final minutes of trading Friday 
and ended a rough week with more losses. Bad news from sporting goods retailers 
weighed on the market.

   A day before, stocks had taken their biggest loss in three months. They 
opened lower after retailers Foot Locker and Hibbett Sports gave dour quarterly 
reports. The losses eased and stocks briefly turned higher following reports 
that President Donald Trump's chief strategist, Steve Bannon, left his White 
House post. Investors felt that makes it a bit more likely the administration 
can achieve at least some of its pro-business agenda.

   Major stock indexes are at their lowest levels since early July as investors 
respond to tensions between the U.S. and North Korea, two terrorist in Spain on 
Thursday, and mounting challenges to the Trump agenda of tax cuts, 
infrastructure spending and reduced regulation. But the market hasn't had a 
severe reaction to all that news. The Standard & Poor's 500 index is only 2.2 
percent below the record high it set earlier this month.

   "There is a tremendous amount of optimism that is supporting the market even 
in the face of extraordinary stress," said Brad McMillan, chief investment 
officer at Commonwealth Financial Network. "The question is, will politics pull 
that down? And the answer seems to be no, because the market has learned not to 
pay that much attention."

   The S&P 500 lost 4.46 points, or 0.2 percent, to 2,425.55. The Dow Jones 
industrial average fell 76.22 points, or 0.3 percent, to 21,674.55. The Nasdaq 
composite shed 5.39 points, or 0.1 percent, to 6,216.53. The Russell 2000 index 
of smaller-company stocks gave up 1.15 point, or 0.1 percent, to 1,357.79. The 
index has fallen 6 percent since July 25.

   Athletic gear retailer Foot Locker plunged to its biggest loss in almost 
nine years. The company said some high-priced sneakers didn't sell as well as 
it hoped, and there aren't a lot of exciting new shoes on the market. It 
doesn't expect that problem to clear up soon and it now plans to close at least 
135 stores, up from 100. The stock dropped $13.32, or 27.9 percent, to $34.38 
in heavy trading.

   Hibbett Sports cut its annual forecasts and its stock fell 60 cents, or 5.2 
percent, to $10.90. It's down 71 percent this year, and Foot Locker has fallen 
52 percent. Companies that make athletic goods also lost ground, and Nike sank 
$2.51, or 4.4 percent, to $54.95. Real estate companies that own shopping malls 
and other retail locations also fell. Simon Property Group, which declined 
$3.62, or 2.3 percent, to $153.58.

   Deere tumbled after its sales in the fiscal third quarter came in lower than 
investors hoped. The company's profit got a large boost after the company sold 
some of its stake in SiteOne Landscape Supply, and analysts said they were 
disappointed with the company's equipment sales. The stock dropped $6.67, or 
5.4 percent, to $117.31.

   Energy companies rose as benchmark U.S. crude oil jumped $1.42, or 3 
percent, to $48.51 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, the international 
standard, added $1.69, or 3.3 percent, to $52.72 a barrel in London.

   Beauty products company Estee Lauder jumped after its fiscal fourth-quarter 
results surpassed Wall Street's expectations. The company also gave strong 
forecasts for the current fiscal year. Its stock gained $7.60, or 7.7 percent, 
to $105.92. Competitor Ulta Beauty picked up $2.77, or 1.1 percent, to $244.20.

   Concerns about the prospects for Trump's pro-business agenda, including tax 
cuts and infrastructure spending, weighed on the market this week as the 
president and the administration were criticized for their response to last 
weekend's violence in Charlottesville, Virginia.

   "When you see Congressmen and Senators, including people who've been close 
with President Trump, backing away, that means Congress is going to have a 
tougher road," said McMillan.

   Stock indexes in Europe fell further as violence in Spain continued. On 
Thursday, a van plowed into pedestrians in Barcelona and killed 13 people. 
Later, a group of people used a car to hit tourists and locals at a seaside 
resort town, and one woman was killed. Spain's Ibex 35 lost 0.6 percent and the 
British FTSE 100 index declined 0.9 percent. France's CAC 40 fell 0.6 percent 
and the German DAX closed down 0.1 percent.

   Bond prices finished about where they started. The yield on the 10-year 
Treasury note remained at 2.19 percent.

   Early on, gold rose to its highest price since before the presidential 
election in November, but it finished down 80 cents at $1,291.60 an ounce. 
Silver dipped 5 cents to $17 an ounce. Copper remained at $2.94 a pound.

   In other energy trading, wholesale gasoline rose 4 cents to $1.62 a gallon. 
Heating oil added 4 cents to $1.62 a gallon. Natural gas lost 4 cents to $2.89 
per 1,000 cubic feet.

   The dollar fell to 109.26 yen from 109.67 yen. The euro rose to $1.1760 from 
$1.1742.

   In Asia, Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 index lost 1.2 percent and the Kospi 
in South Korea shed 0.1 percent. Hong Kong's Hang Seng sank 1.1 percent.


(BE)

 
 
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