REUTERS - The Dow and the S&P were slightly lower in late morning trading on Thursday as investors kept a close watch on Hurricane Irma, which was barreling toward Florida.
Indexes were also weighed down by a 3.1 percent fall in Walt Disney shares, after the company said its Marvel and Star Wars titles would go exclusively to its planned streaming service.
Irma plowed past the Dominican Republic on Thursday after devastating a string of Caribbean islands and killing at least 11 people as one of the most powerful Atlantic storms in a century took aim at Florida.
“As the hurricane moves, investors are looking for a better grip on the damage that can be done. There are far-reaching implications now that we have back-to-back ones,” said Andre Bakhos, managing director of Janlyn Capital in Bernardsville, New Jersey.
Hurricane Harvey, which hit Texas and Louisiana more than a week ago, had claimed 60 lives and caused property damage estimated as high as $180 billion.
Worries about the impact of hurricanes and weak U.S. jobless claims data sent the benchmark 10-year Treasury yields to their lowest since Nov. 10. [US/]
“What is on investors’ minds is that yields continue to move lower. It gives you an indication that people are still a little bit nervous - about North Korea and what the future holds for the (Trump) administration as far as what it is going to accomplish,” said Robert Pavlik, chief market strategist at Boston Private Wealth in New York.
Initial claims for state unemployment benefits soared by 62,000 to 298,000 for the week ended Sept. 2, a Labor Department report showed. Economists had expected a rise to 241,000, according to a Reuters poll.
At 11:37 a.m. ET (1537 GMT), the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 38.6 points, or 0.18 percent, at 21,769.04 and the S&P 500 was down 3.05 points, or 0.12 percent, at 2,462.49. The Nasdaq Composite was up 8.47 points, or 0.13 percent, at 6,401.78.
Six of the 11 major S&P indexes were lower, with the financial index’s 1.59 percent fall leading the decliners.
The fall in yields pressured financial stocks, with Goldman Sachs and Bank of America falling more than 1.5 percent.
General Electric fell 2.45 percent after a JPMorgan analyst downgraded the stock to “underweight”.
MasterCard hit a record high after the payments processor forecast higher full-year revenue. Rival Visa was also up 1.80 percent.
GoPro jumped more than 15 percent after the action camera maker said it expected to be profitable on an adjusted basis in the third quarter.
Key Federal Reserve policymakers scheduled to speak on Thursday include Cleveland Fed head Loretta Mester, New York Fed chief William Dudley and their Kansas City counterpart Esther George.
Declining issues outnumbered advancers on the NYSE by 1,464 to 1,303. On the Nasdaq, 1,460 issues fell and 1,321 advanced.
($1 = 0.8322 euros)
Reporting by Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D'Silva