Stocks edge up after report on U.S. service firms' gains
NEW YORK - Worries from overseas held back the stock market Monday. Stocks started the day lower after a report showed that manufacturing in China, the world's second biggest economy, had contracted for the fourth straight month. News of more fighting between pro-Russian activists and soldiers in Ukraine also made investors cautious.
NEW YORK - Worries from overseas held back the stock market Monday.
Stocks started the day lower after a report showed that manufacturing in China, the world's second biggest economy, had contracted for the fourth straight month. News of more fighting between pro-Russian activists and soldiers in Ukraine also made investors cautious.
The negative news was offset by a report that showed U.S. service firms grew more quickly last month as sales and new orders rose.
The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 3.52 points, or 0.19 percent, to 1,884.66. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 17.66 points, or 0.11 percent, to 16,530.55. The Nasdaq composite rose 14.16 points, or 0.34 percent, to 4,138.06.
Utilities stocks rose the most in the S&P 500 index. The utility sector has risen 12.5 percent this year, making it the best performing industry group in the S&P 500.
Financial stocks were the day's biggest losers. The declines were led by JPMorgan Chase, after the bank said late Friday in a quarterly filing that it expects revenue from its bond and stock market unit to be down about 20 percent in the second quarter in a "continued challenging environment."
JPMorgan slumped $1.36, or 2.4 percent, to $54.22. Other banks with big bond-trading businesses, such as Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs, and Citigroup also fell.
Tyson Foods slumped $4.21, or 9.9 percent, to $38.44 after the company's outlook for full-year earnings fell short of analysts' expectations.
While stocks have been treading water for most of the year, bonds have climbed. That has surprised many analysts, who were expecting bonds to fall after the Federal Reserve announced in December that it would start reducing its bond purchases as the economy was strengthening. The bond purchases are intended to boost the economy by keeping long-term interest rates low.
Investors have been buying bonds for a variety of reasons. Inflation has remained as low, even amid signs that that the economy is strengthening. Concerns that the tensions between Russia and Ukraine could escalate further have also boosted demand for risk-free government debt.
The yield on the 10-year Treasury note, which moves in the opposite direction to its price, fell to 2.58 percent in early morning trading, matching its lowest level for the year. By the end of the day it had edged up to 2.61 percent. The yield on the note was close to 3 percent at the start of the year.