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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Stocks edge lower on oil prices

Associated Press

Wall Street slipped lower but still held on to most of its recent gains Monday as investors, their confidence in the economy growing, reacted calmly to oil prices that approached $60 per barrel.

The concern over oil stymied hopes of continuing last week’s stock advance, which saw the major indexes climb for five straight sessions. But Joseph Battipaglia, chief investment officer at Ryan Beck & Co., said investors – who have seen the risk of inflation dwindle and the economy remain on track – were handling the oil situation well.

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 13.96, or 0.13 percent, to 10,609.11, ending seven straight sessions of gains which saw the Dow rise 140 points.

Broader stock indicators were narrowly lower. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index was down 0.86, or 0.07 percent, at 1,216.10, and the Nasdaq composite index lost 1.98, or 0.09 percent, to 2,088.13. Both indexes reversed five days in positive territory.

The bond market sold off on the oil concerns, with the yield on the 10-year Treasury note rising to 4.10 percent from 4.08 percent late Friday. The dollar made gains against most major currencies, and gold prices also rose.

The Conference Board’s latest reading of the index of leading economic indicators showed that the economy could already be slowing faster than many investors expect. The index for May dropped 0.5 percent, more than the 0.3 percent drop Wall Street had expected. The index was unchanged in April.

“The leading indicators are just confirming what we’re seeing in other indicators: that the economy is not falling off a cliff, but it is slowing,” said Russ Koesterich, senior portfolio manager at Barclays Global Investments in San Francisco. “It’s well documented, well discounted, but in a way it’s good to see that confirmed.”

Declining issues outnumbered advancers by about 9 to 7 on the New York Stock Exchange, where volume came to 1.25 billion shares, compared with 1.93 billion traded at the same point on Friday. Friday’s heavy trading was due to the expiration of options and futures contracts.

The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies was down 2.35, or 0.36 percent, at 641.84.

Overseas, Japan’s Nikkei stock average fell 0.27 percent. In Europe, Britain’s FTSE 100 closed down 0.11 percent, France’s CAC-40 dropped 0.65 percent for the session, and Germany’s DAX index lost 0.38 percent.