Stocks stabilize as energy sector rebounds

Steve Rothwell
Stocks stabilize; Molson Coors jumps on earnings

Traders Daniel Kryger, left, and Christopher Morie work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange Wednesday, Aug. 6, 2014. Worries about Russian troops massing near the Ukrainian border are pushing stocks slightly lower. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

NEW YORK (AP) -- The U.S. stock market stabilized on Wednesday as the energy sector rebounded. Stocks recovered after falling to their lowest level since May the day before, when Russia massed troops near its border with Ukraine. Molson Coors jumped after reporting strong earnings.

KEEPING SCORE: The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose two points, or 0.1 percent, to 1,922 as of 1:16 p.m. Eastern time. The index lost 18 points, or 1 percent, on Tuesday. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 25 points, or 0.2 percent, to 16,454. The Nasdaq composite rose 12 points, or 0.5 percent, to 4,374.

HIGHER BEER PRICES: Molson Coors rose $4.27, or 6.3 percent, to $71.47 after the company said its second-quarter profit rose 9 percent. Better pricing offset a global decline in the volume of beer sales.

ENERGY REBOUND: U.S. crude oil for September steadied after dropping about 7 percent in the last two months. The price of oil was still down, but by 23 cents, or just 0.2 percent, to $97.16 in New York. Natural gas prices halted a slump. Energy stocks were among the biggest gainers in the S&P 500, climbing 0.9 percent.

M&A UNDONE: Sprint plunged $1.34, or 18.4 percent, to $5.95 after the company said that it was abandoning its pursuit of T-Mobile US. Sprint would have struggled to convince regulators to approve a merger of the No. 3 and No. 4 cellphone carriers in the nation, according to a story by The Wall Street Journal. Sprint is also replacing its longtime CEO.

Time Warner fell $10.94, or 12.8 percent, to $74.16 after Rupert Murdoch's 21st Century Fox said it was dropping its attempt to take over the company. The deal would have combined two of the world's biggest media conglomerates. Twenty-First Century Fox gained $1.65, or 5.3 percent, to $32.95.

UKRAINE JITTERS: Poland's prime minister said on Wednesday he had information indicating that there is a growing threat of a "direct intervention" by Russia in Ukraine. Global markets dropped Tuesday after news reports of a buildup of Russian troops on the Ukraine border.

TRADING RANGE: Stocks may oscillate in a trading range in coming days as investors follow developments in Ukraine and assess their impact on the global economy, said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Rockwell Global Capital.

"The market's worst enemy has always been, and always will be, uncertainty," said Cardillo.

STAYING PUT: Walgreen fell $9, or 13 percent, to $60.16 after the drug store company said it will no longer pursue an overseas reorganization that would have reduced the amount of U.S. taxes it pays.

IN EUROPE: Germany's DAX dropped 0.6 percent and the FTSE 100 in London shed 0.7 percent. France's CAC fell 0.6 percent.

CURRENCIES, BONDS AND COMMODITIES: The euro was close to a nine-month low of $1.3371. U.S. government bond prices rose as the yield on the 10-year Treasury note dropped to 2.47 percent from 2.48 percent on Tuesday. Gold rose $22.50, or 1.8 percent, to $1,307.80 an ounce.