Stocks Extend a Losing Streak

U.S. stocks closed with losses for the third consecutive session on Thursday, as weak earnings from companies such as Caterpillar and 3M weighed on sentiment. The Dow Jones Industrial Average declined 119.09 points, or 0.67%, to 17,731.92.The S&P 500 fell 12.00 points, or 0.57%, to 2,102.15. The Nasdaq Composite dropped 25.36 points, or 0.49%, to 5,146.41.

Caterpillar Inc. on Thursday reported a steeper-than-expected 13% drop in sales. company also dropped its sales outlook for the year by $1 billion to $49 billion. It backed its profit forecast of $4.70 a share. For the quarter ended June, profit fell to $710 million, or $1.16 a share, from $999 million, or $1.57 a share, a year earlier.

3M Co. on Thursday reported better-than-expected second-quarter earnings, but tightened its full-year outlook to reflect lower-than-expected global economic growth. The company said it had net profit of $1.30 billion, or $2.02 a share, up from $1.27 billion, or $1.91 a share, in the year earlier period. Sales fell to $7.67 billion from $8.1 billion

Capital One Financial Corp. reported weaker-than-expected profit in its second quarter, while provision for credit losses grew. Capital One reported a profit of $863 million, down from $1.2 billion a year earlier. Revenue grew 3.7% to $5.67 billion. Inc. surprised investors by reporting an unexpected profit along with its sharp sales gains. The Seattle online retailer reported a surprising profit of $92 million, up from a year-ago loss of $126 million. Sales rose a better-than- expected 20% to $23.18 billion.

AT&T Inc reported a 1.4 percent rise in quarterly revenue as it added postpaid customers. Net income attributable to the company fell to $3.04 billion, or 58 cents per share, in the second quarter ended June 30, from $3.55 billion, or 68 cents per share, a year earlier. The company’s revenue rose to $33.02 billion from $32.58 billion.

Southwest Airlines said Thursday that it earned a record $608 million in the second quarter, up 31 percent from a year earlier. Revenue rose a modest 2 percent, to $5.11 billion.

Japanese publisher Nikkei has agreed on Thursday to buy The Financial Times for $1.3 billion, a deal struck by the paper’s parent, Pearson, as it seeks to exit the print advertising-dependent business and focus on its larger education unit.

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