FILE- This Dec. 21, 2016, file photo shows the New York Stock Exchange. The U.S. stock market opens at 9:30 a.m. EDT on Friday, Sept. 28, 2018. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)

Indexes are mixed as chipmakers rise; Tesla and Facebook dip

September 28, 2018 - 3:34 pm

NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stocks are mixed Friday as gains for chipmakers give the technology sector a boost, and energy companies are rising with oil prices. Tesla is plunging after federal regulators moved to oust Elon Musk as the electric car maker's CEO following his tweet last month that he was close to a deal to take Tesla private.

European stocks are falling after Italy's new government announced a big increase in spending. Italy's main stock index fell almost 4 percent and other European indexes also took sharp losses as investors worried that the government's plan will lead to a clash with European Union leaders who want Italy to reduce its debt level. Banks are skidding.

KEEPING SCORE: The S&P 500 index fell 1 point to 2,912 as of 3:20 p.m. Eastern time. The Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped 12 points to 26,427. The Nasdaq composite fell 1 point to 8,040. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks rose 4 points, or 0.3 percent, to 1,695.

THE QUOTE: U.S. stocks rallied in the third quarter even though the U.S. and China placed even bigger tariffs on imports this month. The S&P 500 index has risen 7.2 percent since the end of June, its biggest gain since the end of 2013. One reason is that investors are worried about other regions, especially emerging markets. The currencies of Turkey and Argentina both dropped during the quarter.

"Investors do pivot to the U.S. when they have concerns about other regions," said Marina Severinovsky, an investment strategist at Schroders. But emerging markets stocks have bounced back somewhat over the last two weeks, and Severinovsky said they might do better than U.S. stocks in the fourth quarter.

"The pessimism around those regions is probably too much," she said.

ITALIAN SPENDING: The new spending plans announced by Italy's government would expand its budget deficit. European Union leaders want Italy to bring down its debt level, which is the highest of any EU country after Greece.

Italy's FTSE MIB sank 3.7 percent while the German DAX gave up 1.5 percent. France's CAC 40 lost 0.8 percent and the FTSE 100 index in Britain shed 0.5 percent.

Yields on Italian government bonds rose sharply, a sign of lower investor confidence in the government's financial strength. The yield on Italy's 10-year bond jumped to 3.14 percent from 2.89 percent, a huge move.

Italian bank UniCredit sank 6.7 percent to $12.96. Among European banks, Credit Suisse fell 2.7 percent to $14.97 and Barclays dipped 3.3 percent to $8.98. In the U.S., Citigroup fell 1.7 percent to $71.74 and Goldman Sachs shed 1.4 percent to $224.64.

CHIPPING IN: Chipmakers rallied. Nvidia rose 4.5 percent to $279.42 and Intel gained 3 percent to $47.25 as technology companies continued to fare better than the rest of the market.

HAIRPIN TURN: Tesla dropped 14.4 percent to $263.17 after the Securities and Exchange said Musk committed securities fraud with a statement about taking Tesla private. The SEC launched an investigation after Musk tweeted in early August that he had secured the funding for such a deal, but it soon became clear that the company wasn't close to a deal.

Musk called the action unjustified. His tweet said the company would go private at $420 per share, and the stock jumped to almost $380 that day. It's fallen 31 percent since then.

ANTISOCIAL: Facebook said it discovered a security breach that affects 50 million user accounts, and its stock fell 2.5 percent to $164.52. That capped a brutal three months for social media companies. Facebook plunged 19 percent on July 26 after it said user growth had slowed, a drop that slashed Facebook's value by $119 billion. That was one of the biggest one-day drops in stock market history.

Facebook has fallen 15 percent this quarter, its worst three-month run in six years. And Twitter has dropped 35 percent, the worst of any stock on the S&P 500 index. It was on a huge run until it reported weak user growth in late July, a day after Facebook's report. Investors also worried about the possibility of greater regulation of both companies following hearings in Congress.

"In the U.S. and Europe these companies have largely been allowed, as they've grown to the size and scale and influence that they have, to self-regulate," said Severinovsky. "I think that era is over."

METALS: Gold rose 0.7 percent to $1,196.20 an ounce. Silver jumped 3 percent to $14.71 an ounce. Copper gained 0.8 percent to $2.81 a pound.

ASIA'S DAY: Japan's Nikkei 225 jumped 1.4 percent after the country agreed to open negotiations on a trade agreement with the United States. The move won Japan relief from the immediate threat of punitive tariffs on its auto exports to the U.S. Hong Kong's Hang Seng index added 0.3 percent and South Korea's slipped 0.5 percent.

ENERGY: Energy companies rose as benchmark U.S. crude rose 1.6 percent to $73.25 per barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, added 1.2 percent to $82.72 per barrel in London.

Wholesale gasoline added 0.9 percent to $2.10 a gallon. Heating oil rose 1.2 percent to $2.35 a gallon. Natural gas fell 1.6 percent to $3.01 per 1,000 cubic feet.

BONDS: Bond prices were little changed. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note stayed at 3.05 percent.

CURRENCIES: The dollar rose to 113.58 yen from 113.42 yen. The euro fell to $1.1610 from $1.1658.

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AP Markets Writer Marley Jay can be reached at http://twitter.com/MarleyJayAP His work can be found at https://apnews.com/search/marley%20jay

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