Mixed finish on an uneven day for indexes
U.S. stocks capped a day of choppy trading with an uneven finish Monday as investors wrestled to make sense of newly pessimistic outlooks for the global economy. Traders also weighed another troubling drop in long-term bond yields, which many see as a warning sign of a possible recession. Large-company stocks ended broadly lower, led by drops in big technology companies. Apple fell 1.2 percent after announcing several new services including streaming video and news. Small-company stocks fared better. The bout of volatile trading left the S&P 500 index slightly lower, extending the benchmark index's losses from a broad market sell-off last week. The S&P 500 dropped 2.35 points, or 0.1 percent, to 2,798.36. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 14.51 points, or 0.1 percent, to 25,516.83. It was down as much as 130 and up as much as 100 earlier in the day. The Nasdaq composite lost 5.13 points, or 0.1 percent, to 7,637.54. The Russell 2000 index of smaller company stocks picked up 6.94 points, or 0.5 percent, to 1,512.86. Despite the market's recent slide, the S&P 500 index is still up more than 11 percent so far in 2019, an unusually strong start to a year. Worried investors have shifted money into bonds, sending yields lower. The yield on the 10-year Treasury slid to 2.40 percent from 2.45 percent late Friday. At one point, the yield had fallen to 2.38 percent, briefly triggering deeper declines in the stock indexes. Benchmark U.S. crude oil dipped 0.4 percent to settle at $58.82 a barrel. Brent crude, the international standard, rose 0.3 percent to close at $67.21 a barrel.
Ambassador says no to 'killer robots'
Japan's ambassador to the United Nations-backed Conference on Disarmament said his country has not developed fully autonomous weapons systems and has no plans to do so. Nobushige Takamizawa spoke at Monday's opening of the latest weeklong meeting of government experts in Geneva on the future of "Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems," also known as "Killer Robots." Takamizawa's comments have been widely anticipated in Japan, a country with highly sophisticated technological know-how and concerns about regional security threats — notably North Korea, which in recent years has tested missiles by firing them over Japanese territory. He mentioned "positive effects" of autonomous weapons systems under human oversight, such as saving labor and reducing collateral damage. Opponents of fully automated systems fear that machines could one day conduct wars without human control.
ACA registration falls to 11.4 million
The government said 11.4 million people have signed up for coverage this year under former President Barack Obama's health law. That's just a slight dip from 2018. Despite the Trump administration's ongoing hostility to "Obamacare," a report from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services released on Monday found remarkably steady enrollment— down only about 300,000 consumers. Still, the number of new customers fell by more than 500,000. That's a worrisome sign for backers of the Affordable Care Act. They say the Trump administration's cuts to the ad budget and repeal of a requirement that people get insured will gradually eat away at the program. The federal health insurance market, HealthCare.gov, has lost more than 1 million customers since President Donald Trump took office. State markets are holding their own.
Student pleads guilty to wiretapping
A Maryland university student has pleaded guilty to illegally wiretapping a congressional staffer and putting the conversation on Facebook Live without consent. The state prosecutor's office said Monday a plea agreement was reached with Jake Burdett, a Salisbury University student. Under the agreement, Burdett will receive probation before judgment and 100 hours of community service. Prosecutors said Burdett, a 21-year-old advocate for Maryland Marijuana Justice, took part in a rally in front of Rep. Andy Harris' office in Salisbury, Md., in October. Then he and others met with a member of the congressman's staff in his office. Harris' staff told the group not to record the meeting, citing office policy, but prosecutors said Burdett recorded and streamed it on Facebook Live without the staffer's consent.