By Rodrigo Campos
NEW YORK (Reuters) – Stocks dipped on Wall Street on Monday as a drop in Apple partly offset gains in energy and financial stocks, some of the market’s worst-performing sectors so far this year.
Energy, the worst-performing S&P 500 sector so far in 2017, and banks, widely underperforming the benchmark year-to-date, attracted bids despite a drop in crude prices and a yield curve that is near its flattest in eight months <US2US10=RR>.
Banks are expected to perform better in a steepening-yield curve environment, in which bonds with longer maturities need higher rates to attract investors.
Monday’s data showed services sector activity slowed in May as new orders tumbled. Together with an April fall in orders for manufactured goods and worker productivity unchanged in the first quarter, data suggest limited scope for faster economic growth.
Despite the softening economic numbers, traders still bet the Federal Reserve will raise rates at its June 13-14 meeting. Reuters data points to a 93.6-percent chance of a quarter-point hike.
With the U.S. 10-year Treasury yield near its lowest in seven months, traders are looking for an upward spike and looking at which sectors could benefit from higher rates, said Brian Jacobsen, chief portfolio strategist at Wells Fargo Funds Management in Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin.
“With people starting to bottom-fish the 10-year (yield), you bet on financials,” he said.
Utilities <.SPLRCU>, expected to underperform as yields rise, fell 0.48 percent.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average <.DJI> fell 22.25 points, or 0.1 percent, to 21,184.04, the S&P 500 <.SPX> lost 2.97 points, or 0.12 percent, to 2,436.1 and the Nasdaq Composite <.IXIC> dropped 10.11 points, or 0.16 percent, to 6,295.68.
Energy stocks rose despite a decline in crude prices. Oil fell on concerns that Saudi Arabia cutting off ties with Qatar over its alleged support of extremist views inside Islam could hamper a global deal to reduce oil production.
The S&P 500 energy sector <.SPNY> rose 0.2 percent after falling 4.3 percent over the previous two weeks.
Traders are keeping an eye on other political developments coming up including a British election, testimony from former FBI director James Comey regarding the Trump campaign’s possible collusion with Russia, and the French legislative vote.
UK opinion polls in the past week have put Prime Minister Theresa May’s Conservatives ahead, though with a narrowing lead over the Labour opposition.
Apple <AAPL.O> shares fell 1.0 percent to $153.93 as the iPhone maker unveiled products and services in its annual developers conference.
Alphabet’s A-class shares <GOOGL.O> edged above the $1,000 mark for the first time and were among the biggest boosts to the S&P and the Nasdaq.
Bristol-Myers Squibb <BMY.N> shares fell 4.7 percent to $52.36 after an underwhelming presentation at the American Society of Clinical Oncology’s annual meeting in Chicago over the weekend.
Herbalife <HLF.N> was down 6.7 percent to $68.99 after the nutritional supplement maker lowered its sales outlook for the current quarter a month after a rosy guidance followed results.
Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by a 1.64-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.83-to-1 ratio favored decliners.
The S&P 500 posted 28 new 52-week highs and 11 new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 82 new highs and 70 new lows.
Volume on U.S. exchanges was about 5.52 billion shares, among the lowest of the year, below the 6.6 billion average over the last 20 trading days.
(Reporting by Rodrigo Campos; Editing by Nick Zieminski)