Stock market on track to end year with big gains – Los Angeles Times

U.S. stock indexes edged lower early Friday, the final day of trading for 2017. Losses by technology and energy companies outweighed gains by consumer products and healthcare stocks. Trading volume was light. Oil prices were headed higher. Despite the early slide, stocks were on track to close the year with strong gains.

KEEPING SCORE: The Standard & Poor’s 500 index slipped less than 1 point to 2,686 as of 10:23 a.m. EST. The Dow Jones industrial average shed 10 points to 24,826. The Nasdaq fell 8 points, or 0.1%, to 6,941. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks gave up 1 point, or 0.1%, to 1,547.

TECHNOLOGY SLIDE: Chipmaker Micron Technology was among the technology sector’s big decliners. The stock slid 66 cents, or 1.6%, to $41.15.

NO DEAL: Bonanza Creek Energy slumped 7.8% after SandRidge Energy called off its bid to buy the oil and gas company. Bonanza slid $2.34 to $27.34. SandRidge rose 61 cents, or 3.2%, to $19.75.

BIG GAINERS: Tobacco companies were moving higher along with other consumer-products companies. Philip Morris International rose $1.16, or 1.1%, to $105.97. Altria Group added 72 cents, or 1%, to $71.99.

OIL & GAS: Benchmark U.S. crude rose 39 cents to $60.23 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, which is used to price international oils, gained 21 cents to $66.37 per barrel in London. The price of natural gas continued to rise in response to the harsh winter weather gripping a large swath of the U.S. It gained 9 cents, or 3%, to $3 per 1,000 cubic feet.

The increase sent some energy companies higher. Chesapeake Energy added 16 cents, or 4.1%, to $4.04.

BOND YIELDS: Bond prices rose. The yield on the 10-year Treasury fell to 2.42%, from 2.43% late Thursday.

CURRENCIES: The dollar fell to 112.54 yen, from 112.87 yen on Thursday. The euro strengthened to $1.994, from $1.1952.

BITCOIN: The price of bitcoin was up 0.3% to $14,465 as of 9 a.m. EST, according to the tracking site CoinDesk. Bitcoin futures on the Cboe Futures Exchange picked up 5.1% to $14,460. The virtual currency has been highly volatile in recent weeks, hitting a record high before sliding sharply last week.

MARKETS OVERSEAS: Major stock indexes in Europe were mixed. Britain’s FTSE 100 climbed 0.9 %, hitting a record on the close of a shortened trading day. Germany’s DAX fell 0.5%, while France’s CAC 40 declined 0.1%. In Asia, most markets finished with modest gains. Japan’s Nikkei 225 closed 0.1% lower, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index gained 0.2%.

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