US Stocks Edge Lower, As McDonald’s Sales Disappoint

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Stocks edged lower in early trading Wednesday, a day after the Dow Jones industrial average had its longest losing streak since August. McDonald’s Corp. fell after reporting weak sales.

McDonald’s Corp., the world’s largest hamburger chain, didn’t sell as much at its U.S. restaurants in May as investors had hoped. The stock slipped 0.7 per cent to $80.60 but is still up 18 per cent over the past year.

Exxon Mobil Corp. rose the most of any company in the Dow Jones industrial average after oil prices spiked above $100 per barrel. Oil rose after OPEC ministers made an unexpected decision to keep output at current levels. Investors had been hoping the cartel would increase output, which would have pushed down the price of crude. Oil prices have been hovering around $100 per barrel since March.

The Dow fell 3 points to 12,066 in morning trading. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index fell 2, or 0.2 per cent, to 1,282. The Nasdaq composite fell 13, or 0.5 per cent, to 2,688.

Stocks have been in a slump since late April because of signs that the U.S. economy may be losing momentum and fears that Greece might default on its debt, which would dent the credit-worthiness of bigger European economies. All of the major indexes are still higher for the year. The Dow is up 4.2 per cent, the S&P 500 2 per cent and the Nasdaq 1.3 percent.

Signs that U.S. supplies were tightening also pushed up oil prices. The American Petroleum Institute said late Tuesday that U.S. crude inventories fell more than expected, Associated Press reports.

Hovnanian Enterprises Inc. fell 6 per cent after the homebuilder reported a large second-quarter loss late Tuesday.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury fell below 3 per cent as investors put money into more stable assets. Yields on bonds fall when their prices rise.

The Federal Reserve will release its report on regional U.S. economic conditions at 2 p.m. ET. The report will have commentary from business owners across the Fed’s 12 districts. Stocks fell in late trading Tuesday after Fed Chairman, Ben Bernanke, said the U.S. economic recovery was “uneven” and “frustratingly slow.”