US stocks are mixed, trade concerns hang over market

US stocks were mixed in early trading Monday on Wall Street as investors looked to shake off the steep losses incurred in May.


Traders on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (File photo: AFP)

Energy and health care stocks led most sectors higher, although declines in some major technology and internet companies limited the gains. Amgen rose 3.5% and Merck rose 1%. ConocoPhillips rose 1.7% and Valero rose 1.8%.

The indecisive trading follows the first monthly loss for the market in 2019 as investors deal with uncertainty over the US and its growing use of tariffs in international trade disputes. As of Friday, the S&P 500 was down 6.6% from its record set on April 30.

Google's parent Alphabet dragged down internet companies as media reports suggested it faces an antitrust investigation by the Justice Department. The stock slid 5.6%. Facebook fell 3.5%. A mix of consumer-related stocks also lagged the market, led by Amazon's 2.4% decline.

Technology companies also fell broadly. Microsoft shed 1.2% and Adobe fell 1.4%. Apple rose slightly ahead of its annual software showcase .

Investors spent the bulk of May fleeing to safer holdings as a global trade war flared up. The US expanded its trade war and threatened to impose tariffs on Mexican goods starting June 10 because of an immigration dispute.

All of these moves have rattled investors and their confidence in prospects for global economic growth. Bank of America Merrill Lynch lowered its earnings estimates for companies in the S&P 500, citing trade tensions. Analysts have also warned that uncertainty over trade deals will crimp business confidence and keep companies from investing internationally.

KEEPING SCORE: The S&P 500 index rose 0.3% as of 10:30 am Eastern time. The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 90 points, or 0.4%, to 24,905. The Nasdaq composite fell 0.4%.

DEAL OR NO DEAL: News of deals, made and denied, drove movement for several stocks early Monday.

Cypress Semiconductor surged 24% on the announcement that German chipmaker Infineon is buying the company for more than $10 billion in cash. Cypress Semiconductors specializes in wireless and USB technology and Infineon said the deal with create the eighth biggest chipmaker in the world and a leading supplier of chips to the automotive sector.

Centene slid 9.2% after Humana declined to make a buyout proposal. Both insurance companies focus heavily on government-sponsored plans, including Medicare and Medicaid. Humana made clear that it is not seeking Centene in a rare filing aimed at quashing investor speculation.

El Paso Electric rose 14.3% after getting a $2.78 billion buyout offer from a private equity fund affiliated with J.P. Morgan.