December 11, 2019

Wall Street Shares End Flat

Stocks were steady on Thursday as renewed worries about Europe overshadowed an encouraging report on jobs in the United States.

Germany’s economy, the largest in Europe, shrank more than expected late last year, and the slowdown deepened the region’s ongoing recession. The report was a troubling sign for the United States because sales to Europe have been a boon for American companies.

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 9.52 points to close at 13,973.39.

After a strong start, the stock market has been steady over the last week with few major events to sway investors. That calm could disappear soon, Doug Cote, the chief market strategist at ING Investment Management, said Thursday.

With recessions in Europe and Japan and weak growth in the United States, he is bracing for some turbulence. “Everybody is too complacent,” Mr. Cote said.

Cisco Systems, the world’s largest maker of computer networking equipment, reported earnings late Wednesday that surpassed Wall Street’s expectations, but the company predicted sales growth that was weaker than previous estimates and its stock fell 15 cents, or 1 percent, to $20.99 a share.

The Standard Poor’s 500-stock index edged up 1.05 points to 1,521.38. The Nasdaq composite index rose 1.78 points to 3,198.66.

The S. P. 500 index has climbed 1.6 percent this month and has gained 6.7 percent for the year.

The number of people applying for unemployment benefits fell to 341,000 last week, the lowest level in three weeks, according to the Labor Department. Besides a few weeks last month that were affected by seasonal trends, that is the lowest level in nearly five years.

Among deals announced Thursday, American Airlines and US Airways agreed to merge, creating the country’s largest airline. Warren E. Buffett and 3G Capital, a private equity firm, also plan to buy the food maker H. J. Heinz for $23 billion. US Airways sank 67 cents to $13.99, while H. J. Heinz rose $12.02 to $72.50.

Constellation Brands was up 37 percent, the biggest gain in the S. P. 500, after reaching a deal with Anheuser-Busch InBev. InBev agreed to sell a brewery in Mexico and rights for Corona and Modelo beer in the United States to Constellation for $2.9 billion. Constellation Brands gained $11.87 to $43.75 a share.

In the market for United States Treasury debt, the yield on the 10-year Treasury slipped to 1.99 percent, down from 2.03 percent late Wednesday.

The 10-year Treasury yield, used to set a variety of borrowing rates, began the year around 1.70 percent and has climbed steadily since then. As worries about a recession ease, traders have shifted money out of the Treasury market, driving yields up.

Whole Foods Market, the grocery chain, slumped 10 percent after trimming its forecasts for sales and earnings this year as a result of its plans to open more stores and put more lower-priced goods on its shelves. Whole Foods lost $9.40 to $87.50.

General Motors fell 3 percent after saying it made money in North America and Asia and nearly doubled last year’s fourth-quarter profit.

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