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Energy leads modest slide in US stocks as oil prices fall

Traders work with specialist Anthony Matesic, second from left, on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2017. Stocks are opening lower on Wall Street as technology companies, banks and retailers sink. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
November 14, 2017 - 1:49 PM

Energy companies led U.S. stocks modestly lower Tuesday, erasing the small gains the market made a day earlier.

The biggest drop in crude oil prices since October weighed on oil producers and other energy stocks. Disappointing results or outlooks from retailers and other companies also weighed on the market.

Utilities and consumer-focused companies like packaged food and beverage makers, restaurant chains, bucked the trend.

Investors had their eye on Washington D.C., where the House is expected to vote on its version of a major tax bill this week. Expectations that the tax overhaul will sharply lower corporate taxes have helped lift the market higher this year.

"We're through earnings season, which was pretty good, with earnings up about 10 per cent," said Stuart Freeman, co-head of global equity strategy for Wells Fargo Investment Institute. "Now investors are waiting and watching to see what shape this tax reduction bill is going to take."

The Standard & Poor's 500 index fell 5.97 points, or 0.2 per cent, to 2,578.87. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 30.23 points, or 0.1 per cent, to 23,409.47. The Nasdaq composite slid 19.72 points, or 0.3 per cent, to 6,737.87. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks gave up 3.81 points, or 0.3 per cent, to 1,471.26.

The steep drop in crude oil prices weighed on oil exploration companies and other energy sector stocks.

Newfield Exploration was the biggest decliner in the S&P 500, tumbling $2.27, or 7.1 per cent, to $29.82. Range Resources lost $1.23, or 6.6 per cent, to $17.35.

Benchmark U.S. crude fell $1.06, or 1.9 per cent, to settle at $55.70 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. That's the biggest single-day decline since October. Brent crude, used to price international oils, declined 95 cents, or 1.5 per cent, to close at $62.21 a barrel in London.

"There's this perception that there's a lot of supply waiting in the wings and as prices have moved higher that's made the marginal producer want to come out and just find more oil," said Eric Freedman, chief investment officer of U.S. Bank Wealth Management.

The market's spotlight is on retailers this week, with many of the companies reporting quarterly results over the next few days, including Target Corp., Wal-Mart Stores and Best Buy.

On Tuesday, Home Depot turned in better-than-expected results and raised its outlook for the year. Shares in the home-improvement retailer rose $2.71, or 1.6 per cent, to $168.06.

Advance Auto Parts vaulted 16.3 per cent after the company's latest quarterly earnings exceeded Wall Street's expectations. The stock was the biggest gainer in the S&P 500, climbing $13.44 to $95.72.

Other big retailers failed to impress traders.

TJX Cos., the parent company of T.J. Maxx and Marshalls, fell 4 per cent after it reported revenue and earnings that missed analysts' estimates. Its shares lost $2.82 to $67.94.

Dick's Sporting Goods slid 2.8 per cent after the retailer reported a solid quarter but also said its earnings per share could drop as much as 20 per cent next year. The stock gave up 73 cents to $25.59.

General Electric was among the market's big movers, sliding sharply for the second straight day after analysts downgraded the industrial conglomerate. On Monday, GE pulled back on profit expectations and slashed its dividend in half. The stock tumbled $1.12, or 5.9 per cent, to $17.90 Tuesday. It's now down 43.4 per cent this year.

Investors bid up shares in Buffalo Wild Wings following a report that Roark Capital has offered to buy the company for $150 a share, or $2.3 billion. Shares in the restaurant chain soared $28.10, or 24 per cent, to $145.35.

Bond prices rose. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 2.38 per cent from 2.41 per cent late Monday.

In other energy futures trading, wholesale gasoline gave up 3 cents to $1.76 a gallon. Heating oil fell 3 cents to $1.91 a gallon. Natural gas slid 7 cents to $3.10 per 1,000 cubic feet.

Gold rose $4 to $1,282.90 an ounce. Silver added 3 cents to $17.07 an ounce. Copper fell 5 cents to $3.07 a pound.

The dollar fell to 113.40 yen from 113.57 yen on Monday. The euro strengthened to $1.1794 from $1.1667.

Major stock indexes in Europe closed lower or flat. Germany's DAX fell 0.3 per cent, while France's CAC 40 shed 0.5 per cent. Britain's FTSE 100 was little changed.

Earlier in Asia, Japan's Nikkei 225 stock index finished flat. Hong Kong's Hang Seng index slipped 0.1 per cent. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 fell 0.9 per cent. South Korea's Kospi edged down 0.2 per cent. Shares in Taiwan and Southeast Asia were mostly higher.

News from © The Associated Press, 2017
The Associated Press

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