Wall Street down on oil, greenback gain

By Margreet Dietz

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.2pc, while the Nasdaq Composite Index declined 0.3pc. Photo / AP
The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.2pc, while the Nasdaq Composite Index declined 0.3pc. Photo / AP

Wall Street moved lower overnight from record highs, while oil prices and the US dollar firmed amid talk about fresh efforts to curb a global glut and increased bets that the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates this year after all.

In 3.11pm trading in New York, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.2 per cent, while the Nasdaq Composite Index declined 0.3 per cent. In 2.56pm trading, the Standard & Poor's 500 Index slipped 0.2 per cent.

The Dow fell as declines in shares of Merck and those of Pfizer, recently down 2 per cent and 1.7 per cent respectively, outweighed gains in shares of Exxon Mobil and those of Caterpillar, last up 1.1 per cent and 0.7 per cent respectively.

Shares of Wal-Mart fell, last 0.5 per cent weaker in New York, after the world's biggest retailer said it agreed to buy Jet.com for about US$3.3 billion.

"Wal-Mart has definitely put its stake in the ground saying, 'We're going to be winning in e-commerce," Joseph Feldman, an analyst at Telsey Advisory Group, told Bloomberg. "Amazon should be concerned about what Wal-Mart is doing."

Shares of Amazon were 0.1 per cent weaker in New York in late afternoon trading.

"Amazon's got this huge lead.

"That lead is going to be tough to relinquish but there's a lot of [share] out there," Moody's analyst Charlie O'Shea told CNBC.

Tyson Foods, one of the world's largest food companies, reported better-than-expected quarterly earnings and upgraded its full-year earnings estimate bolstered by lower feed and livestock costs.

Even so the stock traded 0.1 per cent weaker at US$73.57 as of 1.56pm in New York. Earlier in the session the stock had traded as high as US$75.46.

"People are struggling with the idea that these earnings are looking peakish," Tim Ramey, a Salem, Oregon-based analyst for Pivotal Research Group, told Bloomberg. Profit growth in the high single digits "is below trend line but still powerful."

Shares of Exxon Mobil followed oil prices higher amid a report in the Wall Street Journal that some OPEC members suggested fresh talks about curbing output.

"It would appear that OPEC calls for restraint would be inevitable," Jim Ritterbusch of Chicago-based oil markets consultancy Ritterbusch & Associates, told Reuters, citing concerns over rising US oil rigs and weakening energy demand.

People are struggling with the idea that these earnings are looking peakish.

Also gaining was the US dollar after Friday's US jobs better-than-expected reported renewed expectations the Federal Reserve might raise interest rates sooner than later.

"The market is still digesting a blockbuster payroll number and I think a lot of things are in motion right now to assess whether the Fed raises earlier than thought," Doug Cote, chief market strategist at Voya Investment Management in New York, told Reuters. "It certainly won't be September, but it could possibly be December."

In Europe, the Stoxx 600 Index barely budged, ending the day with a gain of less than 0.1 per cent from the previous close. France's CAC 40 index increased 0.1 per cent, while the UK's FTSE 100 index added 0.2 per cent, while Germany's DAX index rose 0.6 per cent.

- BusinessDesk

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