Nasdaq gains, but other indexes slip again
Banks led a broad slide in U.S. stocks Monday as an early rally faded, giving the benchmark S&P 500 index its fourth straight loss. Health care and energy stocks also helped pull the market lower, outweighing gains by technology and consumer-focused stocks. Crude oil prices eked out a small gain after spending most of the day in the red. The latest losses came as traders geared up for a busy week of company earnings reports that should help answer how corporate America is coping with rising interest rates, inflation and the impact of global trade disputes. The S&P 500 fell 11.90 points, or 0.4 percent, to 2,755.88. The index is on course for its worst month in more than three years. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 126.93 points, or 0.5 percent, to 25,317.41. The tech-heavy Nasdaq recovered from an early tumble, gaining 19.60 points, or 0.3 percent, to 7,468.63. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks gave up 2.54 points, or 0.2 percent, to 1,539.50. That's the lowest close for the index since April. It's now up just 0.3 percent for the year.
Judge upholds jury verdict in Monsanto case
A Northern California judge in San Francisco on Monday upheld a jury's verdict that found Monsanto's weed killer caused a groundskeeper's cancer, but she slashed the amount of money to be paid from $289 million to $78 million. In denying Monsanto's request for a new trial, San Francisco Superior Court Judge Suzanne Bolanos cut the jury's punitive damage award from $250 million to $39 million. The judge had earlier said she had strong doubts about the jury's entire punitive damage award. Bolanos gave DeWayne Johnson until Dec. 7 to accept the reduced amount or demand a new trial. Johnson's spokeswoman Diana McKinley said he and his lawyers are reviewing the decision and haven't decided the next step. Monsanto spokesman Daniel Childs said that the company was pleased with the reduced reward but still planned to appeal the verdict.
Musk plans to offer free rides through tunnel
Elon Musk said he is planning to offer the public free rides through a tunnel he bored under a Los Angeles suburb to test a new type of transportation system. In a series of tweets Sunday, Musk said the tunnel is almost complete and there will be an opening event on the night of Dec. 10 and free rides for the public the next day. The tunnel runs about 2 miles under the streets of Hawthorne, Calif., where Musk's SpaceX headquarters is located. Musk has described a system in which vehicles or people pods are moved on electrically powered platforms called skates at speeds up to 155 mph. Musk wants to build a tunnel across western Los Angeles and another between a Metro subway line and Dodger Stadium.
FICO will test a new kind of credit score
Credit scores are about to get a tweak that might help those with weaker credit. Fair Isaac Corp., the company behind the widely used FICO score, announced Monday that it will begin testing a new type of credit score next year with credit reporting agency Experian and technology company Finicity. The new UltraFICO score requires consumers to agree to share added personal information, such as data from their personal checking, savings or money market accounts. The extra information is intended to provide a more in-depth picture of how they use their money and build on traditional information for credit scores, which are based largely on payment history. It would potentially improve the credit score of many Americans, particularly those with weak credit or limited credit history. And it would provide a broader base of customers for banks to lend to. The companies estimate that 79 million Americans have subprime credit scores, which it puts at 680 or below. And 53 million do not have enough data to generate a FICO score.
Fiat Chrysler sells off components division
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has announced the sale of its auto components division to Japanese automotive component supplier Calsoni Kansei Corporation in a deal valued at $7 billion. FCA said Monday that the Magneti Marelli sale would create the world's seventh-largest components maker with greater geographical reach, scale and financial strength, encompassing 200 facilities in Europe, Japan, the Americas and Asia Pacific. The statement said new entity will be called Magneti Marelli CK Holdings, and would build on the strength of the companies' complementary product lines.