U.S. stocks are lower Thursday morning as oil prices drop to their lowest in nine months and energy companies take sharp losses. Banks are climbing as bond yields increase, which will allow lenders to charge higher interest rates on loans. Health care stocks are a bit higher as Congress prepares to vote on a bill intended to roll back much of former President Barack Obama's health care law.
NEW YORK — U.S. stocks are lower Thursday morning as oil prices drop to their lowest in nine months and energy companies take sharp losses. Banks are climbing as bond yields increase, which will allow lenders to charge higher interest rates on loans. Health care stocks are a bit higher as Congress prepares to vote on a bill intended to roll back much of former President Barack Obama's health care law.
KEEPING SCORE: The Standard & Poor's 500 index was unchanged at 2,388 as of 10:05 a.m. Eastern time. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 20 points, or 0.1 percent, to 20,938. The Nasdaq composite fell 4 points, or 0.1 percent, to 6,068. The Russell 2000 index of small-company stocks stayed at 1,391.
ENERGY: U.S. benchmark crude futures shed another $1.31, or 2.6 percent, to $46.51 a barrel in New York while Brent crude, used to price international oils, fell $1.27, or 2.5 percent, to $49.51 a barrel in London. Oil is at its lowest price since August and energy companies took sharp losses. Exxon Mobil skidded 96 cents, or 1.2 percent, to $81.74 and Marathon Oil lost 59 cents, or 4 percent, to $14.26.
HEALTH VOTE: House Republicans planned a vote on a revised bill rolling back much of the Affordable Care Act of 2010. The new legislation would rework subsidies for private insurance, limit federal spending on Medicaid for low-income people and cut taxes on upper-income individuals used to finance Obama's overhaul. The House vote is expected to be close and it's not clear if the bill can pass the Senate, or how Senators might change it if it does.
BONDS: Bond prices dropped. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 2.36 percent from 2.32 percent. Banks climbed higher because the increase in bond yields is sending interest rates higher. Citigroup rose 49 cents to $60.73 and Citizens Financial Group gained 34 cents to $37.56.
FASTER PACE: Fitness tracking device maker Fitbit jumped 81 cents, or 14.3 percent, to $6.47 after its first-quarter results were stronger than analysts expected.
FED IN FOCUS: On Wednesday the Federal Reserve left interest rates unchanged, as investors expected. However the Fed said it expects the economy to recover from its sluggish growth in the first quarter, and that's a hint the central bank expects to raise rates again soon. That's aiding bond yields and the dollar.
CURRENCIES: The dollar rose to 112.75 yen from 112.64 yen. The euro rose to $1.0934 from $1.0906.
OVERSEAS: The CAC 40 in France rose 0.9 percent following a debate between the French presidential candidates. Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen will face off in the final round of voting Sunday, and Macron maintains a large lead in the polls. He is perceived to be more business-friendly and is an advocate of France's continued use of the euro and membership of the European Union. Germany's DAX rose 0.8 percent to 12,642. The FTSE 100 index of leading British shares was 0.1 percent lower.
The South Korean Kospi added 1 percent and Hong Kong's Hang Seng edged 0.1 percent lower. Japan's market remained closed for a holiday.