Stock losses accelerated heading into the market close on Thursday after defensive names slipped on a spike in Treasury yields.
The S&P 500 was down 0.30%, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.16%, and the Nasdaq slid 0.65%.
The yield on the U.S. 10-year Treasury note hit its highest level since May on Thursday, climbing to 1.855% from 1.790% a day earlier. Yields rose as bond prices fell on diminished hopes over further monetary stimulus from some of the world's largest central banks.
The chances of further stimulus from the Bank of England weakened after a stronger reading on U.K. GDP in the third quarter. Stimulus from the Bank of Japan also looked less likely after Gov. Haruhiko Kuroda said there was no need to change Japan's negative 0.1% short-term interest rate target nor its 10-year government bond yield target. Kuroda said the bank would not attempt to reduce long-term government bond yields.
An increase in 10-year yields pulled defensive stocks in the utilities and basic materials sectors into the red. Exelon (EXC) - Get Exelon Corporation Report , NextEra (NEE) - Get NextEra Energy, Inc. Report , and Dominion Resources (D) - Get Dominion Energy Inc Report moved lower, while the Utilities SPDR ETF (XLU) - Get Utilities Select Sector SPDR Fund Report slid 0.58%. Materials stocks including AK Steel (AKS) - Get AK Steel Holding Corporation Report , United States Steel (X) - Get United States Steel Corporation Report and Vale (VALE) - Get Vale SA Report also moved lower.
Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMY) - Get Bristol-Myers Squibb Company Report jumped more than 5% after laying out plans to reorganize, including redirecting spending toward key brands and streamlining certain operations. The drugmaker also topped third-quarter earnings and sales and increased its full-year outlook.
Celgene (CELG) - Get Celgene Corporation Report climbed 6.5% after raising its outlook for the year following better-than-expected quarterly results. The drugmaker swung to a net profit of 21 cents share over its September-ended quarter, up from a loss of 4 cents a year earlier. Adjusted income of $1.58 a share exceeded estimates by a dime.
Twitter (TWTR) - Get Twitter, Inc. Report rose slightly higher, but down from gains of around 5% earlier in the day. Shares had rallied after the company bested quarterly estimates and detailed plans to cut 9% of its workforce. The Jack Dorsey-led company reported adjusted earnings of 13 cents a share on revenue of $616 million. Analysts had expected adjusted earnings of 9 cents a share on $606 million in revenue. Twitter has been in the crosshairs since a round of acquisition offers from Salesforce.com and Walt Disney fell apart earlier this month.
Tesla (TSLA) - Get Tesla Inc Report rose nearly 1% after reporting a surprise profit in its third quarter. The electronic automaker earned an adjusted 71 cents a share, far better than an expected net loss of 54 cents. Tesla hadn't reported a quarterly net profit in more than three years. Revenue surged 145% to $2.3 billion and topped estimates by $100 million. Tesla's adjusted gross margins also improved to 25% from 23.6% in the second quarter and full-year gross margins are expected to increase by 2 to 3 percentage points.
In other earnings news, Ford (F) - Get Ford Motor Company Report moved 1.2% lower after a recent safety recall drove profits sharply lower. Third-quarter net income fell 56% from a year earlier, though operating profit of 26 cents a share beat analysts' forecasts by 6 cents. Profits were reduced by $600 million in expenses related to a door-latch recall. Overall revenue fell 6%, dragged down by by weaker sales in the core U.S. market.
New orders for capital goods made in the U.S. dropped unexpectedly in September as demand for computers and other electronics weakened. Capital goods orders fell 1.2% last month, according to the Commerce Department, after three months of gains. Capital goods orders are used as an indicator of future business spending. U.S. durable goods orders dropped 0.1% in September. Analysts had expected orders to rise 0.2%.
Crude oil prices bounced on Thursday, coming back from a three-week low reached a day earlier. Prices fell on Wednesday as hopes of a production freeze agreement among Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries faded. Iraq, the second largest producer in the bloc, has expressed reluctance to join in on a deal. OPEC members are set to meet in Vienna at the end of November.
West Texas Intermediate crude oil closed 1% higher at $49.67 a barrel on Thursday, snapping a three-session losing streak.
Strong demand in the U.S. housing sector boosted pending home sales to a higher level than expected in September. The National Association of Realtors' index climbed to 110, up 1.5%, on growth in the West and South markets. Activity increased 1.9% in the South and 4.7% in the West.
Initial claims for unemployment benefits in the U.S. fell by 3,000 to 258,000 in the past week, according to the Department of Labor. Analysts had expected a decline of 255,000. The less-volatile, four-week average rose 1,000 to 253,000.