US stocks decline for the first time in five days
NEW YORK — Weak earnings from tobacco company Lorillard and household products maker Procter &Gamble helped end the stock market’s longest winning streak of the year Wednesday.
Lorillard dropped after the maker of Newport cigarettes said its profit fell as higher costs offset an increase in revenue from both traditional and electronic cigarettes. Procter &Gamble fell after the company lowered its sales and earnings forecasts.
The losses were relatively small. Before Wednesday’s drop, stocks had gained for the previous four days, mitigating some of the market’s weakness in January caused by signs of slowing growth in China and doubts about how strong the U.S. economy was.
“At this point, boring is good,” said Kate Warne, an investment strategist at Edward Jones, an investment adviser. “People are a bit tired of the ups and downs we’ve seen and a relatively flat day would be a sign of confidence,” Warne said.
The Standard &Poor’s 500 index fell half a point, less than 0.1 percent, to close at 1,819.26. The Dow Jones industrial average fell 30.83 points, or 0.2 percent, to 15,963.94. The Nasdaq composite rose 10.24 points, or 0.2 percent, to 4,201.29.
Makers of consumer staples, a category that includes everyday products such as soap, diapers and cigarettes, fell the most of the 10 sectors in the S&P 500.
Lorillard had the biggest drop in the index. The stock lost $2.48, or 5 percent, to $47.47 after its earnings disappointed investors.
Procter &Gamble, the world’s largest household products maker, fell $1.35, or 1.7 percent, to $77.49 after the company said it would take a hit because of declines in emerging market currencies against the dollar. Currencies in developing countries such as Turkey, South Africa and Argentina have slumped against the dollar this year.