Stocks Slide as Consumer Discretionary Weighs

Markets Reuters

U.S. stocks were little changed on Monday, pulling back from earlier gains as consumer discretionary stocks fell.

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Wall Street had opened higher, extending a rally from Friday's session with the S&P 500 rising back above its 50-day moving average, but lost its advance throughout morning trading.

The S&P consumer discretionary sector fell 0.3 percent as the biggest declining sector of the day.

The group was pressured by H&R Block Inc, which lost 6.3 percent to $29.67 a day after the company said its deal to sell its bank to BofI Federal Bank would not be approved by regulators before next year's tax season.

Among other names in the group, Nike Inc fell 1.6 percent to $88.87 while Priceline Group was off 1.5 percent at $1,124.49.

The S&P 500 is coming off its best day since August. Stocks rallied on Friday after a stronger-than-expected jobs report boosted optimism about the economy, while the Federal Reserve was not seen speeding up its timeline for raising interest rates.

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"The recovery is alive and well, and while there are still risks we need to keep an eye on, fundamentals suggest we're in pretty good shape and could continue to move higher," said John Carey, portfolio manager at Pioneer Investment Management in Boston.

On the upside, Hewlett-Packard Co rose 4.7 percent to $36.86 after it said it would split into two public companies.

The Dow Jones industrial average was rising 7.1 points, or 0.04 percent, to 17,016.79, the S&P 500 was losing 0.41 points, or 0.02 percent, to 1,967.49 and the Nasdaq Composite was dropping 13.32 points, or 0.3 percent, to 4,462.31.

Advancing issues were outnumbering declining ones on the NYSE by 1,722 to 1,225, for a 1.41-to-1 ratio on the upside; on the Nasdaq, 1,525 issues were falling and 958 advancing for a 1.59-to-1 ratio favoring decliners.

The benchmark S&P 500 index was posting 15 new 52-week highs and 3 new lows; the Nasdaq Composite was recording 20 new highs and 52 new lows.