Stocks edge lower; Hillshire bidding war heats up
New York • The stock market fell slightly Thursday, pulling back from record highs the day before.
Hillshire Brands jumped as a bidding war for the company heated up, while Krispy Kreme Doughnuts plunged after issuing a disappointing forecast.
The Dow Jones industrial average dropped 21.29 points, or 0.1 percent, to 16,722.34. The Standard & Poor's 500 index fell 0.73 points, or 0.04 percent, to 1,924.24 and the Nasdaq composite fell 3.12 points, or 0.1 percent, to 4,234.08.
Even with Tuesday's decline, the direction for the stock market the last two weeks has been up. The S&P 500 and Dow have fallen just three times in the last 12 sessions.
Deli meat and hotdog maker Hillshire Brands rose $5.08, or 9.5 percent, to $58.65 on Tuesday.
Two companies Pilgrim's Pride and Tyson Foods are in a bidding war to buy Hillshire. The company said it will hold separate talks with the companies after Pilgrim's Pride raised its bid for Hillshire to $55 a share, $5 more than what Tyson Foods offered last week.
Hillshire's closing stock price of more than $58 is a sign that investors believe Pilgrim's Pride and Tyson are willing to offer much more for Hillshire.
Meanwhile, the stock of the suitors fell. Tyson slipped $1.32, or 3 percent, to $42.08 and Pilgrim's Pride declined 58 cents, or 2.2 percent, 25.34.
It's been a quiet week so far, with summer setting in and trading slowing down. Investors had one piece of economic data to interpret Tuesday.
Orders to U.S. factories rose for a third consecutive month in April, the latest evidence that manufacturing was regaining momentum after a harsh winter. Factory orders rose 0.7 percent in April, better than the 0.5 percent rise that economists expected.
The factory orders data was the third manufacturing report in two days. On Monday, reports on U.S. and Chinese manufacturing activity came in above expectations. That helped send both the Dow and S&P 500 to record highs for the second straight trading day. The S&P 500 closed at an all-time high of 1,924.97 that day, while the Dow ended at 16,743.63.
"The economic data here continues to get incrementally better," said Quincy Krosby, a market strategist for Prudential Financial. "But Friday's jobs report is the big number this week.
On that day, investors will get the May U.S. jobs report. Economists expect that companies hired 220,000 workers last month, and that the unemployment rate remained steady at 6.3 percent, according to FactSet.
On Thursday, European Central Bank will announce its latest interest rate policy decision.
In the market for U.S. government bonds, the yield on the 10-year Treasury rose to 2.60 percent from 2.53 percent late Monday.
In company news:
Krispy Kreme slumped after the doughnut chain cut its earnings forecast for this year, citing higher costs and fewer sales than previously estimated. The company's stock fell $2.81, or 15 percent, to $16.19.
General Motors and Ford rose modestly Tuesday, after each reported a rise in sales of cars and trucks last month. GM had a 13-percent sales increase from a year earlier, despite the bad publicity over the company's ignition switch recall.
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