- Associated Press - Tuesday, July 2, 2013

NEW YORK (AP) — The stock market turned lower in early afternoon trading Tuesday after reports of intensifying political turmoil in Egypt.

Stocks were higher most of the day on positive news about car sales and other bright spots in the U.S. economy. Indexes turned lower after 1:40 p.m. EDT after news emerged that Egypt’s military had drawn up plans to suspend the country’s constitution, dissolve its legislature and set up an interim government. Millions of protesters are demanding the ouster of President Mohammed Morsi.

The price of oil climbed to nearly $100 a barrel on concern that the deepening crisis in the most populous Arab nation could disrupt the flow of crude oil from the region.

“It’s more or less Egypt unrest,” said Sal Arnuk, co-founder of Themis Trading, a brokerage firm that specializes in stocks. “These very large protests are being televised and broadcast — that’s spooking people.”

The Standard & Poor’s 500 index climbed as much as 9 points shortly before midday. By 3:39 p.m. it was down three points, or 0.2 percent, at 1,612.

The Dow Jones was down 60 points, or 0.4 percent, to 14,914. The Nasdaq composite slipped 8.74 points, or 0.3 percent, to 3,425.

Nine of 10 of the industry groups in the S&P 500 fell, led by industrial companies.

Trading patterns also may have been influenced by the upcoming July Fourth holiday.

Crude oil jumped about $1 a barrel higher after the political situation in Egypt worsened. It closed up $1.61 at $99.60 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Ford gained 41 cents, or 2.7 percent, to $16.16, after the company reported its best June sales since 2006.

Earlier, reports showed that U.S. factory orders rose in May, helped by a third straight month of stronger business investment.

Also, U.S. home prices jumped 12.2 percent in May from a year earlier, the most in seven years, according to real estate data provider CoreLogic. The increase suggests the housing recovery is strengthening.

The stock market will close at 1 p.m. on Wednesday, ahead of the Independence Day holiday on Thursday. When the market reopens on Friday, investors turn their focus to the government’s monthly employment report.

Economists forecast that the U.S. economy to added 165,000 jobs in June, according to data compiled by FactSet. The Dow surged 200 points June 7 after the Labor Department said that U.S. employers added 175,000 jobs in May.

Investors and traders are also starting to think about corporate earnings again, which begin in earnest next week. While corporate profits have reached record levels, most of the gains have come from cutting costs rather than increasing sales.

“We’re in the middle of a transition,” said Chris Wolfe, chief investment officer at Merrill Lynch Private Banking and Investment Group. “You would expect to see, over the balance of this year and going into next year, somewhat stronger macroeconomic data that translates directly into stronger corporate revenue growth.”

Alcoa, the first company in the Dow to report its earnings, will release its second-quarter results after the market closes July 8.

In government bond trading, the yield on the 10-year Treasury note dipped to 2.47 percent from 2.48 percent on Monday. The yield has stabilized after surging as high as 2.66 percent last week on concern that the Fed was poised to start winding down its bond-buying program.

In metals trading, the price of gold fell $12.30, or 1 percent, to close at $1,243.40 an ounce.

Among stocks making big moves:

• Zynga jumped 17 cents, or 4.9 percent, to $3.22 after the troubled maker of FarmVille and other online games said CEO Mark Pincus would step aside. The company’s stock is down almost 70 percent since its 2011 initial public offering at $10 per share.

• Achillion Pharmaceuticals fell $1.98, or 25.8 percent, to $6.20 after the drug developer said regulators on Monday placed a hold on an early-stage study involving its potential hepatitis C treatment.

• DaVita HealthCare Partners fell $6.99, or 5.8 percent, to $116.90, after the government proposed cutting the rates of Medicare payments to dialysis service providers.

Copyright © 2016 The Washington Times, LLC.

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