US stock indexes drift lower in early trading; oil up

U.S. stocks drifted lower in early trading Monday as investors sized up the latest company earnings and deal news. The major stock indexes were coming off new highs set last week following a strong U.S. jobs report. Energy stocks surged the most as oil prices rose, while health care companies were the biggest laggard.

KEEPING SCORE: The Dow Jones industrial average slipped two points to 18,541 as of 10:08 a.m. Eastern time. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index slid less than one point to 2,182. The Nasdaq composite index fell four points, or 0.1 percent, to 5,216.

DASHED EXPECTATIONS: Allergan PLC slumped 3.5 percent after the Botox-maker’s second-quarter revenue fell short of Wall Street’s forecasts. The stock lost $9.14 to $244.70.

ONLINE PLAY: Wal-Mart Stores slipped about 1 percent after the retail giant agreed to buy fast-growing online retail newcomer for $3 billion in cash and another $300 million in stock. The deal underscores how serious Wal-Mart is about challenging online leader Amazon. Shares in Wal-Mart shed 69 cents to $73.06.

EUROPEAN MARKETS: Germany’s DAX was up 0.7 percent after government figures showed that industrial production posted a better-than-anticipated gain in June. France’s CAC 40 was up 0.2 percent, while Britain’s FTSE 100 index was flat.

ASIA’S DAY: Markets in Asia moved mostly higher despite a report showing China’s exports fell again in July, while a decline in imports accelerated. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng gained 1.6 percent, while the Shanghai Composite Index rose 0.9 percent. Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 surged 2.4 percent. Sydney’s S&P-ASX 200 added 0.4 percent, while Seoul’s Kospi rose 0.9 percent. India’s Sensex added 0.2 percent. Benchmarks in Taiwan, New Zealand and Thailand also rose, while Singapore declined.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude was up $1, or 2.4 percent, at $42.80 per barrel in New York. The contract shed 13 cents on Friday. Brent crude, used to price international oils, was up 91 cents, or 2.1 percent, at $45.18 per barrel in London. It lost 2 cents on Friday.

BONDS AND CURRENCIES: Bond prices fell. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 1.61 percent from 1.59 late Friday. In currency markets, the dollar rose to 102.56 yen from Friday’s 101.75 yen. The euro edged down to $1.1074 from $1.1091.

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