Stocks Start Lower, Tech Companies, Banks Slip

NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stocks are edging lower in early trading Thursday as banks, technology and health companies fall. Prescription drug distributor AmerisourceBergen and women’s health diagnostic company Hologic tumbled, while a solid quarter from cereal maker Kellogg helped makers of food and household goods move higher.

KEEPING SCORE: The Standard & Poor’s 500 index dropped 6 points, or 0.3 percent, to 2,471 as of 10 a.m. Eastern time. The Dow Jones industrial average shed 22 points, or 0.1 percent, to 21,994. The 30-company index has risen for seven consecutive days, setting records over that time and closing above 22,000 for the first time on Wednesday. The Nasdaq composite lost 14 points, or 0.2 percent, to 6,348. The Russell 2000 was unchanged at 1,412 after a sharp loss a day ago.

THEY’RE GREAT: Kellogg, the maker of Frosted Flakes, Pop Tarts and Eggo waffles, reported another quarterly decline in sales as revenue from breakfast items slipped and snack food sales were flat. But the results weren’t as bad as experts had expected. Its stock jumped $2.79, or 4.1 percent, to $70.23.

ELECTRIFYING: Electric car maker Tesla said it’s confident it can meet its production goals for its new Model 3 sedan, which will cost less than its previous cars. It aims to make 10,000 a week by next year. The company also took a smaller net loss than investors expected. Its shares gained $18.23, or 5.6 percent, to $344.21.

HEALTH CARE: AmerisourceBergen slumped $6.60, or 7.2 percent, to $84.67 after it said it expects slower revenue growth this year. Prescription drug distributors have struggled lately as the prices of generic drugs fall, and branded-drug prices don’t rise as quickly as they have in the past. Rival Cardinal Health lost 8.2 percent Wednesday after its quarterly report.

Aetna raised its 2017 estimates again, and shares of the third-largest U.S. health insurer climbed $3.38, or 2.2 percent, to $158.12. Aetna gained some Medicare customers and its employers-sponsored health coverage business improved. A pullback from the Affordable Care Act’s health insurance exchanges. Rival Humana climbed 4.5 percent Wednesday after a strong quarter.

AVON CALLING… FOR HELP: Avon Products took a loss in its latest quarter and said sales weren’t as good as expected. The cosmetics retailer has been struggling for years to revive its business, and it said Thursday that CEO Cheri McCoy will leave the company. Activist investors have put pressure on Avon to find new leadership. The stock lost 36 cents, or 10.8 percent, to $3.

BRITISH CAUTION: The British FTSE 100 gained 0.8 percent as investors felt the Bank of England isn’t likely to raise interest rates any time soon. The British central bank left its key rate at a record low and cut its growth forecasts for the country. That also sent the pound lower.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude rose 11 cents to $49.70 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, the international standard, added 22 cents to $52.58 a barrel in London.

BOND: Bond prices moved higher. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 2.25 percent from 2.27 percent.

CURRENCIES: The dollar fell to 110.40 yen from 110.61 yen. The euro dipped to $1.1856 from $1.1860.

STOCKS OVERSEAS: In France, the CAC 40 rose 0.6 percent and the DAX in Germany lost 0.1 percent. Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 lost 0.3 percent and the Kospi of South Korea dropped 1.7 percent. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng sank 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

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