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Stocks Veer Mostly Higher Midday       01/19 12:11

   Retailers and consumer goods companies led U.S. stock indexes mostly higher 
in afternoon trading Friday as the market recouped some of its modest losses 
from a day earlier. 

   (AP) -- Retailers and consumer goods companies led U.S. stock indexes mostly 
higher in afternoon trading Friday as the market recouped some of its modest 
losses from a day earlier. Energy companies were the biggest laggard as the 
price of crude oil declined. Investors were monitoring developments in 
Washington ahead of a possible federal government shutdown this weekend.

   KEEPING SCORE: The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 4 points, or 0.2 
percent, to 2,802 as of 1:03 p.m. Eastern Time. The Dow Jones industrial 
average slid 46 points, or 0.2 percent, to 25,970. The Nasdaq added 25 points, 
or 0.4 percent, to 7,321. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks 
picked up 13 points, or 0.9 percent, to 1,590. More stocks rose than fell on 
the New York Stock Exchange. The S&P 500 was on course for its eighth weekly 
gain over the past nine weeks.

   SHUTDOWN SHOWDOWN: U.S. House lawmakers voted for a stopgap funding bill to 
keep agency doors open and federal workers at their jobs until mid-February, 
but Senate Democrats and some Republicans were expected to block it on Friday. 
A shutdown could hurt consumer spending and rattle markets, though it's 
unlikely to cause widespread economic damage, Credit Suisse economists said in 
a note on Thursday.

   THE QUOTE: Going by past federal government shutdowns, they typically don't 
last very long and the majority of the government remains funded, noted Jeramey 
Lynch, global investment specialist with J.P. Morgan Private Bank in Michigan.

   "We expect the market to move past it and not to be too caught off guard if 
that were to happen," Lynch said.

   BOND YIELDS: Bond prices were little changed. The yield on the 10-year 
Treasury held at 2.63 percent after briefly rising to the highest level since 
September 2014.

   RISING RETAIL: Investors bid up shares in retailers, cruise lines and other 
consumer-focused companies. Nike led the pack, climbing 4.3 percent. The stock 
was the biggest gainer in the S&P 500 index, adding $2.76 to $66.87.

   NOT A DRAG: Tobacco companies, beverage makers and other consumer products 
stocks rose. Altria Group gained $1.06, or 1.5 percent, to $71.09. Philip 
Morris International picked up $2.89, or 2.8 percent, to $107.96.

   BOARDROOM MAKEOVER: Lowe's rose 2.8 percent after the home-improvement 
supply retailer named three new directors. The stock added $2.88 to $104.24.

   PRIME HIKE: Amazon was trading higher after the e-commerce giant said it 
will raise the price of its Prime membership monthly plan by nearly 20 percent. 
Starting Friday, new monthly members will pay $12.99 a month, up from $10.99. 
The stock picked up $3.53 to $1,296.85.

   BIG DECLINER: IBM slumped 4.3 percent despite a solid fourth-quarter report. 
The technology and consulting company was the biggest decliner in the Dow. The 
stock was down $7.29 to $161.83.

   NOT BUYING: American Express fell 3.1 percent after the credit card issuer 
suspended its share buy-back program for six months following a big one-time 
tax charge. The stock shed $3.05 to $96.81.

   ENERGY: Oil futures were down after the International Energy Agency said 
U.S. oil production would rise sharply this year. Benchmark U.S. crude lost 64 
cents to $63.31 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, used 
to price international oils, fell 67 cents to $68.64 a barrel.

   The decline in oil prices weighed on energy sector stocks. Range Resources 
slid 53 cents, or 3.2 percent, to $15.94.

   CURRENCIES: The dollar fell to 110.61 yen from 111.98 yen on Thursday. The 
euro weakened to $1.2235 from $1.2242.

   BITCOIN: The price of bitcoin edged up 0.4 percent to $11,297, according to 
the tracking site CoinDesk. Bitcoin futures on the Cboe Futures Exchange were 
down 3 percent to $11,410. The futures allow investors to make bets on the 
future price of bitcoin.

   MARKETS OVERSEAS: Major stock indexes in Europe notched gains. Germany's DAX 
rose 1.2 percent and France's CAC 40 added 0.6 percent. Britain's FTSE 100 
gained 0.4 percent. In Asia, Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 edged up 0.2 percent, 
while South Korea's Kospi gained 0.2 percent. Hong Kong's Hang Seng ended 0.4 
percent higher.


(BE)

 
 
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