U.S. stock indexes were wavering between tiny gains and losses in early trading Friday. Losses among technology and consumer-focused companies offset gains by financial and health care stocks. Traders were weighing the potential impact of Hurricane Irma, which slammed into the north Caribbean and was expected to barrel into Florida this weekend.
KEEPING SCORE: The Standard & Poor’s 500 index fell 1 point, or 0.1 percent, to 2,463 as of 10:06 a.m. Eastern time. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 26 points, or 0.1 percent, to 21,810. The Nasdaq composite lost 15 points, or 0.2 percent, to 6,382. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks gave up 3 points, or 0.3 percent, to 1,395.
EYE ON THE STORM: Hurricane Irma, churning with 160 mph winds, left at least 16 people dead and thousands homeless on a devastated string of Caribbean islands and was spinning toward Florida for what could be a catastrophic blow this weekend. Several insurance companies offering coverage for the type of property damage potentially caused by hurricanes continued to slide Friday as traders weighed the prospects of big losses from Irma.
Federated National Holding Co. slid 53 cents, or 5 percent, to $10.03, while HCI Group sank $2.59, or 8.6 percent, to $27.37. Universal Insurance Holdings lost $1.10, or 6.7 percent, to $15.40.
TECH SLUMP: Declines among technology companies were a big drag on the market Friday. Advanced Micro Devices fell 35 cents, or 2.8 percent, to $12.28. Information technology company SAIC declined 18.4 percent after it missed estimates in the second quarter and said its profit margins came under pressure. Its shares slid $13.76 to $60.90.
HIGH-TECH HEIST: Equifax slumped 14.1 percent in heavy trading following the credit monitoring company’s disclosure that a data breach exposed Social Security numbers and other data from 143 million Americans. The company, one of the three major U.S. credit bureaus, said Thursday that the breach occurred between mid-May and July. Equifax shares were down $20.17 to $122.55.
UNAPPETIZING RESULTS: Kroger slid 6.1 percent after the supermarket operator’s latest quarterly earnings fell short of Wall Street’s expectations. The stock fell $1.39 to $21.38.
ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude dipped 10 cents to $48.99 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, used to price international oils, gained 22 cents to $54.71 a barrel in London.
CURRENCIES: The dollar fell to 107.96 yen from 108.65 yen on Thursday. The euro strengthened to $1.2028 from $1.2003.
BONDS: Bond prices fell. The yield on the 10-year Treasury rose to 2.06 percent from 2.05 percent late Thursday.
MARKETS OVERSEAS: Global stock markets traded in narrow ranges early Friday. In Europe, Germany’s DAX was flat, while the CAC 40 in France was 0.2 percent lower. The FTSE 100 index of leading British shares was down 0.1 percent. Earlier in Asia, Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 slid 0.6 percent after the country’s growth rate was revised lower. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng added 0.5 percent.