US stocks turn mixed at midday after an early gain fades


U.S. stocks are turning mixed Friday after an early gain faded away, capping a week of unusually choppy trading.

Consumer products maker Procter & Gamble is surging after reporting strong sales of beauty products in its latest quarter, while credit card company American Express also jumped.

Health care companies are falling, and technology and internet companies and retailers continue to struggle.

While stocks are on track to finish the week slightly higher, most of the market’s recent gains have been swiftly followed by losses. The S&P 500 hasn’t risen two days in a row since Sept. 20, the last day of a three-day string of gains. That was also the day of the benchmark index’s most recent record high. It’s down 5.5 percent since then.

KEEPING SCORE: The S&P 500 index picked up 1 point, or 0.1 percent, to 2,770 at 12:30 p.m. after it fell 1.4 percent on Thursday. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gave up most of an early gain. It jumped as much as 229 points early on but in afternoon trading it was up just 43 points, or 0.2 percent, to 25,422.

The Nasdaq composite sagged 28 points, or 0.4 percent, to 7,456. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks lost 12 points, or 0.8 percent, to 1,548.

The S&P 500 has fallen for three weeks in a row, but is on track to rise 0.1 percent this week.

LOOKING GOOD: The world’s largest consumer products maker is on track for its biggest gain in a decade. Procter & Gamble said sales of fabric and home care products edged higher in its latest quarter while beauty products revenue jumped 20 percent. The maker of Tide detergent, Pampers diapers and Gillette razors posted a bigger profit than analysts expected and its stock added 6.6 percent to $85.48.

PayPal surpassed expectations in the third quarter and also announced a partnership with American Express. PayPal surged 8.2 percent to $83.75. American Express said spending on its credit cards increased and its results were better than analysts expected. American Express gained 3.6 percent to $106.60.

PayPal also announced that payment volume on eBay grew far slower than the rest of its business, and the amount of business it gets from eBay, its former corporate parent, continues to shrink. Shares of eBay fell 9.2 percent to $28.64, which dragged retailers and other companies that rely on consumer spending lower.

HONEYWELL SOURS: Aerospace and building components maker Honeywell lagged the rest of the market. It posted a bigger profit than analysts expected, but it also said it is seeing more signs of inflation in its business as a result of the tariffs the U.S. and China have placed on imported goods. Honeywell gained 0.1 percent to $155.39. Industrial companies have skidded recently as investors worried about the results of those trade tensions.

MARKET LEADERS: Apple rose 0.8 percent to $217.82 while Microsoft added 0.4 percent to $108.92. Amazon fell 0.3 percent to $1,766. The stocks have soared in recent years, which helped make them the three most valuable U.S. companies, but they’ve struggled lately as investors worry about economic growth in the U.S. and the possibility that trade tensions and rising interest rates will stem that growth.

Those struggles have continued to gains for companies whose businesses aren’t as tied to economic growth. On Friday Pepsi rose 1.9 percent to $109.94 and Coca-Cola added 1.3 percent to $46.21. Electric utility Duke Energy rose 2.5 percent to $83.32.

STORM CHARGE: Insurer AIG said it expects to take between $1.5 billion and $1.7 billion in catastrophe losses in the third quarter. The losses stem from Hurricane Florence, two typhoons that hit Japan, and losses from mudslides in California that were greater than it had expected. AIG also said it estimates $300 million to $500 million in losses from Hurricane Michael. Its stock fell 2.3 percent to $47.50.

WEEDED OUT: Chemicals maker DowDuPont said it expects to write down the value of its agriculture business by $4.5 billion in the third quarter. The stock slid 1.8 percent to $57.51.

BONDS: Bond prices slipped. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 3.19 percent from 3.17 percent.

ASIA: China said economic growth sank to a post-financial crisis low of 6.5 percent in the third quarter. Chinese finance officials launched a media blitz to shore up confidence in the country’s sagging stock market. China’s economy has gradually slowed for years, even before a trade dispute between Beijing and U.S. President Donald Trump led to higher tariffs. The Chinese government tightened controls on lending last year to rein in a debt boom, but that, too, has affected the economy.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng rose 0.4 percent Seoul’s Kospi added 0.4 percent. Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 shed 0.6 percent.

EUROPE: Germany’s DAX lost 0.3 percent and France’s CAC 40 sank 0.6 percent. London’s FTSE 100 gained 0.3 percent and the FTSE MIB was little changed. Tensions between European Union officials and Italy’s new government sent Italian stocks and government bond prices lower Thursday. Italian bond prices turned higher Friday and yields slipped.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude rose 0.8 percent to $69.21 per barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, gained 1 percent to $80.08 a barrel in London.

CURRENCY: The dollar rose to 112.43 yen from 112.20 yen. The euro rose to $1.1512 from $1.1465.


AP Markets Writer Marley Jay can be reached at

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