NEW YORK — Concerns about the world economy helped tug U.S. stocks lower on Monday as worries mount over Greece’s standoff with its creditors.
Major indexes headed lower at the opening of trading, following European markets down. A rebound in crude oil drove energy stocks higher.
With no major reports on the U.S. economy to hold their attention, investors looked abroad.
There’s still a lot of uncertainty around Greece. It’s one of these tectonic plates shifting around the financial system.
“There’s still a lot of uncertainty around Greece,” said Jack Ablin, chief investment officer at BMO Private Bank. “It’s one of these tectonic plates shifting around the financial system.”
Greece’s new prime minister, Alexis Tsipras, set his government on a collision course with the country’s creditors. In a speech Sunday, Tsipras declared an end to a regimen of budget cuts and tax increases and said he would push for a short-term loan to give the country and its creditors time to negotiate a new arrangement to replace its bailout program. Greece and its international creditors were expected to take up the issue later this week.
For investors, the worry is that if Greece drops the European currency, it could have unpredictable consequences for the wider financial system. One fear is that other countries with much larger economies might follow Greece out the door.
The Standard & Poor’s 500 (^GSPC) slipped 8.73 points, or 0.4 percent, to close at 2,046.74. Of the 10 sectors in the index, only energy companies finished higher.
The Dow Jones industrial average (^DJI) fell 95.08 points, or 0.5 percent, to 17,729.21, while the Nasdaq composite (^IXIC) fell 18.39 points, or 0.4 percent, to 4,726.01.
Hasbro (HAS) jumped $3.92, or 7 percent, to $59.66 after the toy company turned in stronger quarterly results. Sales of toys geared toward boys surged, led by Transformers, Nerf and Marvel-brand action heroes. Hasbro also raised its dividend and expanded plans to buy back its own shares.
McDonald’s (MCD) reported that a key measure of global sales shrank last month, as sales slumped across the Middle East, Africa and Asia. The world’s biggest hamburger chain dropped $1.27, or 1 percent, to $92.72.
This week marks the half-way point for the fourth-quarter earnings season, and the results are shaping up better than Wall Street had expected. Seven out of 10 big companies have turned in higher profits than analysts had forecast, putting overall earnings on track to rise 7 percent for the full quarter, according to S&P Capital IQ.
In other trading on Monday, U.S. crude oil rose $1.17, or 2.3 percent, to close at $52.86 a barrel in New York, while brent crude, the international benchmark, rose 54 cents to $58.34 in London. The gains came as OPEC said that it expects demand for crude to rise this year and U.S. output to fall.
Higher prices for crude oil helped lift stocks in companies tied to the oil industry. Nabors Industries (NBR), a driller, and National Oilwell Varco (NOV) each gained 3 percent.
Major markets in Europe closed lower. France’s CAC-40 lost 0.9 percent, and Germany’s DAX fell 1.7 percent. Greece’s main Athens Exchange lost 4.7 percent.
Interest rates on government bonds in Italy and Spain jumped, though they still remain near historic lows.
In Asia, most major stock markets closed lower following news that China’s imports fell nearly 20 percent over a year earlier. Exports were also weak, heightening concerns about the world’s second-largest economy.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng fell 0.6 percent while South Korea’s Kospi slipped 0.4 percent. Japan’s Nikkei 225 added 0.4 percent.
Back in the U.S., prices for government bonds edged up, pushing long-term interest rates down. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note slipped to 1.95 percent.
In the commodity markets, gold gained $6.90 to settle at $1,241.50 an ounce, while silver rose 38 cents to $17.07 an ounce. Copper lost half a penny to $2.85 a pound.
In other trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange:
Wholesale gasoline rose 1.9 cents to close at $1.578 a gallon.
Heating oil rose 3.4 cents to close at $1.873 a gallon.
Natural gas rose 1.8 cents to close at $2.597 per 1,000 cubic feet.
What to watch Tuesday:
At 10 a.m. Eastern time, the Commerce Department releases wholesale trade inventories for December, and the Labor Department releases job openings and labor turnover survey for December.
These selected companies are scheduled to release quarterly financial results:
Akamai Technologies (AKAM)
Coca-Cola Co. (KO)
CVS Health (CVS)
KKR & Co. (KKR)
Martin Marietta Materials (MLM)
Molson Coors Brewing (TAP)
Omnicom Group (OMC)
Pacific Gas & Electric Co. (PCG)
Pioneer Natural Resources Co. (PXD)
Regeneron Pharmaceuticals (REGN)
Reynolds American (RAI)
Sealed Air (SEE)
Service Corp. International (SCI)
Spirit Airlines (SAVE)
Starwood Hotels & Resorts (HOT)
Western Union (WU)
Wyndham Worldwide (WYN)
If you’re in the market for a new TV, now’s the time to pounce. Not only are there post-Super Bowl sales, but the new models revealed at the Consumer Electronics Show in early January means retailers are dropping prices on old models to make way for new goodies. According to Offers.com, prices on HDTVs will drop by 60 percent or more this month.
Keep an eye out for emails, social media blasts and newspaper inserts advertising Presidents Day sales, which will take place on and around the holiday. This year’s Presidents Day is Monday, Feb. 16, and you can expect notable discounts on myriad items, including furniture, apparel and home goods. Expect price drops as much as 60 percent to 90 percent off retail.
2. Presidents Day sales
You may be dealing with snow delays and plowing trucks, but retailers have spring on the brain. Because they’re eager to move sweaters, jeans, cardigans, outerwear, boots and the like off their shelves, they’ve marked down all of the above up to 80 percent off. That’s good news for the buyer, who can still get plenty of wear out of their discounted winter apparel purchases throughout the rest of winter.
3. Winter clothing
Speaking of winter merchandise, also expect to find deals on winter sports goods, including skis and snowboards. "Presidents Day is the last hurrah for ski resorts," CreditDonkey.com says. "With the season winding down, this is a great opportunity to get gear for next year at up to 60 percent off."
4. Skis and snowboards
Whether you’re buying for yourself or someone else, post-Valentine’s Day in February is the best time to buy a little bling. If you’re OK waiting until after the holiday to buy, take advantage of the more robust sales that occur after Feb. 14. Offers.com says that discounts range from 60 percent to 85 percent off the manufacturer’s suggested retail price.
February is a low season for travel. Because demand for all things travel-related has decreased, you’re apt to find excellent deals on flights, cruises, hotel accommodations and city attractions. You can also expect to find luggage on sale, making it an ideal time to upgrade your suitcases and carry ons.
As Americans groan and complain about the inconvenience of tax season, perhaps their spirits can be slightly lifted by the tax software deals happening right now. For example, TurboTax (INTU) announced it is offering 100 percent free filing this year on both federal and state taxes for 1040EZ/A filers. Tax software boxes, tax filing companies and online tax filing agencies will likely offer incentives to file with them throughout the month, as well.
7. Tax software and essentials
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