AAA  Mar. 20, 2017 10:31 AM ET
US stocks open mixed as banks fall while tech companies rise
By MARLEY JAY, AP Markets Writer THE ASSOCIATED PRESS STATEMENT OF NEWS VALUES AND PRINCIPLES 
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(AP) — Major U.S. indexes are little changed in early trading Monday as technology companies gain but energy and bank stocks fall. Stocks in Europe are lower after the British government said it will formally begin its departure from the European Union next week.

KEEPING SCORE: The Standard & Poor's 500 index was up a fraction at 2,378 as of 10:27 a.m. Eastern time. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 22 points, or 0.1 percent, to 20,937. The Nasdaq composite added 7 points, or 0.1 percent, to 5,908. Small-company stocks fell. The Russell 2000 was down 3 points, or 0.2 percent, to 1,388. More stocks fell than rose on the New York Stock Exchange.

BRITAIN MUST BE GOING: Britain's government said it will trigger the process of leaving the EU on March 29. That will start a long negotiation between Britain and the EU, with uncertain effects for banks and other companies. The country is expected to officially leave the union in early 2019.

Bank of America fell 24 cents, or 1 percent, to $24.62 and Morgan Stanley gave up 38 cents to $44.64.

CURRENCY: The British pound slipped to $1.2392 from $1.2396 late Friday, and it's down about 20 percent since Britain voted to leave the EU in late June. The dollar declined to 112.67 yen from 112.70 yen. The euro rose to $1.0755 from $1.0743.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude declined 39 cents to $48.39 per barrel in New York, while Brent crude, used to price international oils, lost 16 cents to $51.60 a barrel in London.

Drilling rig operator Transocean lost 54 cents, or 4.3 percent, to $11.94 and Concho Resources sank $1.24, or 1 percent, to $129.23.

DIAMOND? MINE: Dominion Diamond climbed $2.23, or 22.5 percent, to $12.16 after Washington Cos. went public with an offer to buy the diamond mining company for $13.50 per share, or about $1.1 billion. Dominion Diamond said it is willing to engage in talks but said Washington doesn't have experience in the diamond industry and questioned the timing of the offer. Washington Cos. said it first made its offer in February and that Dominion Diamond isn't willing to open its books.

TRADE: Finance ministers and central bankers from the Group of 20 major economies dropped a pledge to eschew protectionism in a statement Saturday under U.S. pressure. In his campaign to become president and since his inauguration, Donald Trump has sounded more protectionist than his predecessors. He has promised to rewrite trade deals and has ditched the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a proposed pact between 12 countries that border the Pacific Ocean which represented around 40 percent of global economic output.

WATCH STOPPED: Watchmaker Movado Group fell $1.15, or 4.9 percent, to $22.45 after its fourth-quarter results fell short of Wall Street forecasts. The company said sales are continuing to shift to the web from physical stores and that the market for watches remains tough.

BONDS: Bond prices rose. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 2.49 percent from 2.50 percent.

OVERSEAS: Britain's FTSE 100 declined 0.1 percent. France's CAC-40 fell 0.2 percent and the DAX in Germany declined 0.2 percent. Hong Kong's Hang Seng index gained 0.8 percent and the Kospi in South Korea shed 0.4 percent. Japanese markets were closed for a holiday.

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AP Markets Writer Marley Jay can be reached at http://twitter.com/MarleyJayAP His work can be found at http://bigstory.ap.org/journalist/marley-jay

Associated Press
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