December 19, 2014
Wall Street slips after two-day rally; energy shares drop
US stocks ended lower, snapping a two-day rally as energy shares tumbled on sliding oil prices. The pullback occurred on light volume typical of mid-August.
Traders rushed to sell the stock of handbag and accessory maker and retailer Kate Spade & Co, which plummeted 25.4 percent to close at $29.00 in its busiest day of trading ever with 52 million shares changing hands. Kate Spade & Co reported better-than-expected sales, which had helped lift the stock to a seven-year-high at $42.87 in early trading. The stock reversed course, though, after the company warned that gross margins would be weaker than expected for the year.
The S&P 500 energy sector index ended down 0.7 percent in sync with the drop in oil prices. Southwestern Energy Co shares fell 2.8 percent to $38.21, while Consol Energy Inc shares ended down 2.4 percent at $39.49. The two stocks were the biggest losers in the S&P energy index.
Brent crude fell to a 13-month low due to worries about oversupply, even with possible disruptions to Iraq's production at the forefront. US September crude also settled lower.
Forest Oil Corp and Comstock Resources Inc were the S&P 500's two biggest percentage losers, with Forest Oil's shares down 8.5 percent at $1.83 and Comstock Resources shares down 5 percent at $23.56.
Sixteen of the 30 Dow components also fell, including Chevron Corp, down 0.5 percent at $127.09.
The Dow Jones industrial average fell 9.44 points, or 0.06 percent, to close at 16,560.54. The S&P 500 ended down 3.17 points, or 0.16 percent, at 1,933.75. The Nasdaq Composite lost 12.08 points, or 0.27 percent, to finish at 4,389.25.
About 4.3 billion shares traded on all US platforms, according to BATS exchange data, compared with the five-day average of 6.0 billion.
European shares also fell, throwing a rally in the US and Asia into reverse, and the euro dipped towards nine-month lows against the dollar as reports a Russian aid convoy was heading to Ukraine ratcheted up tension between Kiev and Moscow.
Investors were waiting for a closely watched gauge of German economic sentiment, which some analysts expected will reflect the impact on the euro zone's powerhouse of Western sanctions imposed on Russia over the Ukraine crisis. The ZEW indicator is due at 0900 GMT.
"We are looking for a hard drop in the index as geopolitics is taking a toll. This comes before second-quarter GDP data on Thursday and this may form a picture that there are cracks in the euro zone recovery," said Commerzbank strategist Rainer Guntermann.
The FTSEurofirst 300 index fell 0.2 percent at 1,320.14 points, giving up a 1.3 percent gain yesterday.
Japan's Nikkei share average extended its recovery from two-month low, with buying interest in steelmakers and shipping companies to the fore as investors put geopolitical concerns on a back burner while still remaining cautious.
The Nikkei rose 0.2 percent to 15,161.31, extending its rebound from a low of 14,753 hit on Friday due to the concerns that conflicts in Ukraine and the Middle East could hamper world growth. The broader Topix rose 0.4 percent to 1,257.69 while the JPX-Nikkei Index 400 gained as much to 11,45.57.