US stocks slip, giving back some of their gains from rally the day before; Apple joins Dow

Energy Associated Press

The stock market headed down in early Thursday trading, giving up some of its gains from the day before. Another plunge in oil prices yanked Chevron, Exxon Mobil and other energy companies down.

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KEEPING SCORE: As of 10:13 a.m., the Dow Jones industrial average was down 60 points, or 0.3 percent, to 18,014. The Dow jumped 227 points Wednesday.

The Standard & Poor's 500 fell four points, or 0.2 percent, to 2,094. The Nasdaq edged up eight points, or 0.2 percent, to 4,991.

CRUDE: Benchmark U.S. crude sank $1.50 to $45.17 a barrel in New York trading. Brent crude, a benchmark for international oils used by many U.S. refineries, dipped $1.21 to $54.70 a barrel in London. Oil and gas companies led eight of 10 industries in the S&P 500 index lower.

SHUFFLE: It's Apple's first day as a member of the Dow. The maker of iPhones, iPads and other gadgets replaced AT&T. Goldman Sachs also took Visa's title as the most expensive stock among the blue chips. Because the Dow weighs its 30 companies by their share price instead of their market value, a stock split for Visa pushed the payment processor off its perch.

ECONOMY: The number of people seeking U.S. unemployment benefits held steady last week. The Labor Department said Thursday morning that weekly applications for unemployment aid edged up by 1,000 to 291,000.

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THE FED EFFECT: Markets rallied Wednesday after the Federal Reserve signaled that it wasn't in a hurry to raise interest rates. A long period of ultra-low rates has helped lift stock and bond prices by keeping the cost of borrowing cheap. The Fed has held its benchmark interest rate close to zero since 2008, making it easier for businesses to borrow and spend.

EUROPE: Germany's DAX fell 0.5 percent, while France's CAC 40 dropped 0.2 percent. Britain's FTSE 100 was little changed.

ANALYST'S TAKE: "The big surprise yesterday was that the Fed acknowledged the negative impact stemming from the strong U.S. dollar," said Chang Wei Liang of Mizuho Bank in Singapore.

CURRENCIES: The dollar was volatile. It slumped when the Fed signaled that rate increases would be slower but later recovered some ground. The euro rallied as high as $1.09 against the dollar, from $1.06 before the Fed statement, only to slide back to $1.0684 in morning trading in the U.S. Thursday Against the Japanese yen, the dollar was trading at 120.74 yen, up from 120.23 yen.

ASIA'S DAY: Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 slipped 0.4 percent. South Korea's Kospi added 0.5 percent, and Hong Kong's Hang Seng jumped 1.5 percent. Other Asian markets ended with gains, including those in Taiwan, Singapore, Indonesia and the Philippines.

BACK IN THE STATES: Prices for U.S. government bond prices slipped, nudging yields up. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 1.94 percent from 1.92 percent on Wednesday.

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