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US stocks tumble as oil prices drag energy companies down

NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stocks are skidding Friday as a drop in oil prices takes energy companies sharply lower. Banks are falling again as bond yields continue to shrink. The losses wiped out most of the market’s gains from earlier this week.

KEEPING SCORE: The Dow Jones industrial average sank 105 points, or 0.6 percent, to 17,879 as of 12:45 p.m. Eastern time. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index fell 17 points, or 0.8 percent, to 2,098. The Nasdaq composite tumbled 51 points, or 1 percent, to 4,907. The S&P 500 reached an 11-month high this week and so did oil prices, but investors remain cautious as they look to a Federal Reserve meeting next week and Britain’s referendum on its membership in the European Union on June 23.

ENERGY: U.S. crude shed $1.33, or 2.6 percent, to $49.23 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, the benchmark for international oil prices, fell $1.28, or 2.5 percent, to $50.56 a barrel in London. Gasoline, heating oil and natural gas prices also sank.

ConocoPhillips gave up $1.50, or 3.2 percent, to $45.07 and oilfield services company Schlumberger shed $1.42, or 1.8 percent, to $78.54. Chevron fell 98 cents, or 1 percent, to $101.83.

BANKS STUMBLE: As they did Thursday, banks fell along with bond yields. Lower bond yields drive down interest rates on mortgages and other kinds of loans, and that makes them less profitable for banks. Citigroup sank $1.29, or 2.9 percent, to $43.72 and JPMorgan Chase lost $1.01, or 1.6 percent, to $63.74. Bank of America fell 38 cents, or 2.7 percent, to $13.81.

Bond prices rose further and the yield on the 10-year U.S. Treasury note sank to 1.65 percent from 1.69 percent.

The drop in bond yields sent phone companies higher, as those stocks’ high dividend yields are comparable to bonds. Verizon Communications rose 72 cents, or 1.4 percent, to $52.67, and phone companies were the only S&P 500 sector to trade higher Friday afternoon.

DRUG PRICE DOUBTS: Drug company stocks fell further. Mylan lost $1.39, or 3 percent, to $44.37 after Wells Fargo analyst David Maris said it might come under scrutiny from regulators because it’s made some “exceptionally large price increases” on its drugs this year. Maris added that the price changes might also indicate some of Mylan’s other products aren’t selling as well as it hoped.

A number of drug companies have seen their stocks tumble in recent months as regulators questioned their patterns of raising prices and other business practices. Endo International, which has plunged more than 70 percent this year, fell $1.11, or 6.2 percent, to $16.89.

CONSUMER WOES: Consumer stocks also fell, with some of the sharpest losses going to big names. Amazon declined $9.95, or 1.4 percent, to $717.70 and Netflix slid $2.93, or 3 percent, to $94.16.

OUCH-FITTERS: Retailer Urban Outfitters slumped after it said sales at established stores are continuing to fall in the second quarter so far. Those sales are considered an important measurement of retailer performance. The company’s stock slid $1.64, or 5.9 percent, to $26.29.

BLOOD TEST: Global Blood Therapeutics climbed after it reported positive results from an early clinical study of its most advanced drug, a potential treatment for sickle cell disease. The company’s stock gained $4.07, or 18.4 percent, to $26.22.

CHEMICAL DEAL: Westlake Chemical Corp. said it will buy Axiall for $33 per share, or $2.33 billion. The agreement ends a takeover dispute that had lasted all year, and it will make one of the largest producers of chlorine, plastics and other chemicals. Axiall jumped $6.68, or 25.9 percent, to $32.49 and Westlake rose $1.51, or 3.4 percent, to $46.57.

BLOCK BOUNCES: Tax preparer H&R Block posted a bigger profit and more revenue than analysts expected, sending its stock up $2.58, or 12 percent, to $24.12.

TOSSING AND TURNING: Mattress Firm, the bedding maker behind Serta, Sealy, and other brands, reported a bigger loss and less revenue than expected and cut its estimates for the year. Its stock dropped $4.33, or 12.9 percent, to $29.25.

OVERSEAS: Germany’s DAX fell 2.5 percent and the CAC 40 in France slumped 2.2 percent. Britain’s FTSE 100 lost 1.9 percent. Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 index lost 0.4 percent while South Korea’s Kospi dipped 0.3 percent. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng shed 1.2 percent.

CURRENCIES: The dollar rose to 107.06 yen from 106.83 yen late Thursday. The euro fell to $1.1281 from $1.1331.

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