U.S. stocks edged lower in afternoon trading Thursday, wiping out modest gains from a day earlier and placing stock market indexes on course for their first drop this week. Supermarket operators, beverage companies and other consumer staples stocks were down the most. Banks and other financial companies led the gainers. Industrial stocks also rose. Investors were sizing up new company earnings and deal news.
KEEPING SCORE: The Standard & Poor’s 500 index slipped 4 points, or 0.2 percent, to 2,503 as of 2:20 p.m. ET. The Dow Jones industrials fell 38 points, or 0.2 percent, to 22,374. Both indexes posted record highs on Wednesday. The Nasdaq composite lost 17 points, or 0.3 percent, to 6,438. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks added 2 points, or 0.2 percent, to 1,448.
YELLEN HAS SPOKEN: The stock market was coming off modest gains on Wednesday following the latest policy update from the Federal Reserve. The central bank, led by Fed Chair Janet Yellen, indicated that it remains on course to raise interest rates on several occasions over the coming year.
BIG DECLINERS: Beverage, food and supermarket companies were trading lower, part of an overall slide in consumer staples sector. Kroger slid 53 cents, or 2.5 percent, to $20.27. Dr. Pepper Snapple Group gave up $2.32, or 2.5 percent, to $89.36.
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READ ENOUGH: “Harry Potter” publisher Scholastic slid 7 percent after reporting a disappointing quarter. The stock shed $2.69 to $35.82.
FINANCIALS FAVORED: Banks and other financial stocks were posting gains. Citizens Financial Group added 52 cents, or 1.5 percent, to $36.31.
BIG GAINERS: Industrials companies were among the big gainers in the S&P 500 index. American Airlines Group rose 91 cents, or 2 percent, to $46.33. General Electric gained 38 cents, or 1.5 percent, to $24.70.
PAIRING UP: Calgon Carbon soared 62.1 percent after the maker of water and air filtration systems agreed to be acquired by Japanese company Kurary for $1.1 billion. The stock gained $8.20 to $21.40. Ash Grove Cement jumped 81.4 percent after saying it would be bought by CRH. Ash Grove added $232.10 to $517.10.
SERVE YOURSELF: Meal kit maker Blue Apron added 1.1 percent after a rival company, Plated, agreed to be acquired. Blue Apron has had a lousy run this year. It cut its IPO prices before it went public and started trading at $10 a share. Shares rose 6 cents to…