AAA  Oct. 12, 2017 1:07 PM ET
US stocks mixed as retailers slump and tech companies rise
By MARLEY JAY, AP Markets Writer THE ASSOCIATED PRESS STATEMENT OF NEWS VALUES AND PRINCIPLES 
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The screens of specialist Robert Tuccillo are reflected in his glasses as he works at his post on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, Thursday, Oct. 12, 2017. Stocks are opening slightly lower on Wall Street, a day after setting their latest record highs. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
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(AP) — U.S. stocks are little changed Thursday afternoon as retailers and media companies decline but technology and industrial companies rise. Women's clothing retailer J. Jill is tumbling after it slashed its forecast for the third quarter. AT&T is falling after it said it expects to lose DirecTV subscribers, while cable company Charter and entertainment conglomerate Viacom are down on reports that Viacom channels may go off the air in the New York area because of a contract dispute.

KEEPING SCORE: The Standard & Poor's 500 index fell 1 point, or 0.1 percent, to 2,553 as of 1 p.m. Eastern time. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 4 points to 22,868. The Nasdaq composite stayed at 6,604. All three of those indexes closed at record highs Wednesday. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks lost 1 point, or 0.1 percent, to 1,505.

LEADERS: Information technology company DXC climbed after it said it will combine its government services business with two companies owned by private equity firm Veritas Capital. DXC will own most of the new company and will get $1.05 billion in cash. DXC jumped $3.46, or 4 percent, to $91.12. Elsewhere Microsoft added 64 cents to $77.06.

Gains for railroads sent industrial companies higher. Norfolk Southern rose $2.02, or 1.5 percent, to $133.51 and CSX picked up 57 cents, or 1.1 percent, to $53.65.

BLANK SCREEN: AT&T said it will lose about 90,000 DirecTV video subscribers in the U.S. because of growing competition in streaming video services. It said tighter credit standards and hurricanes also affected its business. AT&T also said the hurricanes and recent earthquakes in Mexico will reduce its earnings by about $210 million in the next quarter. Its stock fell $1.58, or 4.1 percent, to $36.61.

Competitor Verizon Communications shed 32 cents to $38.54.

CABLE COMBAT: Viacom and cable company Charter Communications both fell on reports that contract negotiations between them are stalling. A contract between them expires Sunday, and Viacom channels like MTV and Nickelodeon could temporarily go off the air for subscribers to Charter's New York-area Spectrum service. Viacom dropped 74 cents, or 2.9 percent, to $24.47 and Charter gave up $6.13, or 1.7 percent, to $358.99.

Other media companies were also down. Comcast fell $1.24, or 3.3 percent, to $36.18.

PANIC IN THE AISLES: J. Jill stock nosedived after the retailer of women's clothes, shoes and accessories slashed its outlook for the third quarter. The company said retail and direct-to-consumer sales both fell short of its expectations and cut its earnings forecast in half. J. Jill stock opened at $13 a share after its March IPO and on Thursday it plunged $5, or 50.4 percent, to $4.93.

Retailer Express sank 45 cents, or 7 percent, to $5.96 and Chico's FAS lost 47 cents, or 6 percent, to $7.50. Gap lost 85 cents, or 3 percent, to $27.57.

BANKS: JPMorgan Chase and Citigroup both did better than analysts expected. Citigroup said its investment banking business did well, while JPMorgan Chase said its consumer banking business improved. Banks have been climbing recently but the results weren't enough to maintain Wall Street's enthusiasm. Citigroup fell $1.59, or 2.1 percent, to $73.35 and JPMorgan Chase gave up 94 cents, or 1 percent, to $95.90. Capital One declined $1.74, or 2 percent, to $85.01.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude oil lost 63 cents, or 1.2 percent, to $50.67 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, fell 63 cents, or 1.1 percent, to $56.31 a barrel in London. That weighed on energy companies. Helmerich & Payne sank $1.90, or 3.76 percent, to $50.38 and Apache declined $1.32, or 3.1 percent, to $40.64.

SQUEEZED: The U.S. Department of Agriculture predicted a 16 percent drop in orange production, partly because of Hurricane Irma. The crops in Florida and California are both smaller than they were last year. Orange juice futures have been climbing since late August and on Thursday they fell 4 cents, or 2.6 percent, to $1.58 a pound.

ALOHA AND ALOHA: Southwest Airlines rose and Hawaiian skidded after Southwest said it plans to start making flights to Hawaii in 2018. Southwest stock picked up 54 cents to $59.09 while Hawaiian Holdings lost 73 cents, or 1.8 percent, to $39.28.

BONDS: Bond prices rose. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 2.33 percent from 2.35 percent.

CURRENCIES: The dollar inched down to 112.35 yen from 112.42 yen. The euro declined to $1.1847 from $1.1855.

EUROPE: The British FTSE 100 index rose 0.3 percent 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 percent. France's CAC 40 fell less than 0.1 percent.

ASIA: Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 continued to reach 21-year highs and added 0.4 percent. The South Korean Kospi rose 0.7 percent and Hong Kong's Hang Seng advanced 0.3 percent.

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AP Markets Writer Marley Jay can be reached at http://twitter.com/MarleyJayAP His work can be found at https://apnews.com/search/marley%20jay

Associated Press
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