Stock market wobbles following four-day winning streak

NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stocks are mostly lower in late afternoon trading Monday as momentum from a four-day winning streak fades. Energy companies are jumping along with the price of crude oil and natural gas. Banks and technology companies are lower. Chipmaker Micron Technology is down 3 percent.

KEEPING SCORE: The Dow Jones industrial average increased 22 points, or 0.1 percent, to 17,028 as of 3:15 p.m Eastern time. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index fell four points, or 0.2 percent, to 1,995. The Nasdaq composite fell 27 points, or 0.6 percent, to 4,689.

ENERGY SURGE: The 12 biggest gainers in the S&P 500 were drillers and other energy-related companies. Murphy Oil rose $3.47, or nearly 15 percent, to $27.17.

IRON SOARS: The price of iron ore jumped 17 percent on news over the weekend that China plans to run up its deficit to stimulate its economy. China is the world’s largest buyer of the metal used to make steel. A big mining company, Cliffs Natural Resources, rose 48 cents to $3.37, a gain of 17 percent.

CHINA QUESTION: Over the weekend, China lowered its official growth target this year to 6.5 percent to 7 percent and promised more market-opening reforms. The slowdown in China had been rattling markets, though the fear in the U.S. has eased in recent weeks as encouraging U.S. data suggest its economy is solid. On Friday, a jobs report showed employers added a solid 242,000 workers in February.

THE QUOTE: “The market is correctly pricing in a lower chance of global recession or U.S. recession or a hard-landing in China,” said Brian Nick, head of tactical asset allocation at UBS Wealth Management Americas.

DUPONT RISES: DuPont rose $1.19, or 1.8 percent, to $64.34. Bloomberg News, citing anonymous sources, reported that German chemicals giant BASF is weighing a possible offer to buy the company. DuPont had agreed to merge with Dow Chemical.

BANK WARNING: The Bank for International Settlements warned of a “gathering storm” as central banks run out of room to stimulate their economies. The BIS’s chief economist, Claudio Borio, said investor confidence in central banks is “faltering.” The BIS is often referred to as the central banks’ central bank.

ECB IN FOCUS: Investors are anxious over a policy meeting of the ECB on Thursday. They expect further stimulus from the central bank because inflation across the 19-country eurozone has fallen back below zero. That could include a further cut into negative of the deposit rate, from minus 0.3 percent, and an expansion of its bond-buying program.

EUROPE DOWN: Germany’s DAX fell 0.5 percent while France’s CAC-40 lost 0.3 percent. Britain’s FTSE 100 lost 0.3 percent.

ASIA’S DAY: Tokyo’s Nikkei retreated 0.6 percent and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng shed 0.1 percent. Seoul’s Kospi advanced 0.1 percent.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude gained $1.98, or 5.5 percent, to close at $37.90 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, used to price international oils, rose $2.12, or 5.5 percent, to $40.84 a barrel in London.

BONDS, CURRENCIES: U.S. government bond prices fell. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 1.90 percent from 1.87 percent on Friday. The euro rose to $1.1013 from $1.0999 and the dollar fell to 113.27 yen from 114.02 yen.

METALS: Precious and industrial metals futures ended mixed. Gold fell $6.70 to $1,264 an ounce, silver slipped six cents to $15.63 an ounce and copper rose a penny to $2.28 a pound.