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S&P 500, Nasdaq end higher with energy; Dow down 6th session

The S&P 500 and Nasdaq eked out slight gains after another choppy session as economic data eased fears about the potential effect of a weakening global economy on the United States.

The Dow closed down for sixth straight session, matching a six-day losing streak in August of last year and leaving the index down 2.8 percent for the year so far.


Providing some support to the market, St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank President James Bullard told Bloomberg Television the US central bank may want to keep up its bond buying stimulus for now given a drop in inflation expectations.


Economic data showed initial jobless claims fell to their lowest level in 14 years, and industrial output rose sharply in September.


But investors remained wary of further declines given the day's choppiness and fast pace of the recent selloff, which has been driven by concerns about a widening Ebola scare, the potential impact on US earnings from weak global demand and plunging oil prices. The S&P 500 is still off 7.4 percent from its Sept. 18 record closing high and is up just 0.8 percent for the year so far.


The S&P 500 again closed below its 200-day moving average of around 1,905.
Energy shares provided the biggest boost to the S&P 500, with the S&P 500 energy index up 1.7 percent. The index, which has lost ground dramatically in recent weeks, briefly slipped into bear market territory earlier this week.


Shares of Chesapeake Energy Corp rose 17 percent to $20.79 and the stock was the S&P 500's biggest percentage gainer after Southwestern Energy Co said it would buy some oil and gas assets in the Marcellus and Utica shale fields in West Virginia and Pennsylvania from Chesapeake.


Small caps also extended this week's rebound, with the Russell 2000 index rising 1.3 percent, its third session in a row of more than 1 percent gains. It is up 3.5 percent in the last three sessions.


The Dow Jones industrial average fell 24.5 points, or 0.15 percent, to 16,117.24, the S&P 500 gained 0.27 points, or 0.01 percent, to 1,862.76 and the Nasdaq Composite added 2.07 points, or 0.05 percent, to 4,217.39.


Netflix shares plunged 19.4 percent to $361.70, among the biggest drags on both the S&P 500 and Nasdaq 100 after it said it signed up fewer video-streaming subscribers than forecast for the quarter.

European equities trimmed their losses late in trading after hitting a 13-month low on concern that global growth is slowing.

The FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares ended 0.5 percent lower at 1,245.78 points after falling as much as 2.9 percent to 1,215.62 points, the lowest since September last year. The index has fallen about 13 percent in four weeks.

The relative strength index (RSI) for the index fell to 19.6 today, the lowest in more than three years. A level below 30 is seen technically as "oversold" and often attracts buyers.

Analysts said that cyclical stocks, which are more sensitive to economic conditions, would remain under pressure as global growth concern persisted. Weaker oil prices may further damage energy companies, they said.

The euro zone's banking index fell 2.1 percent, the insurance index was down 1.3 percent and the European oil and gas index dropped fell 0.6 percent.

Across Europe, Britain's FTSE 100 ended 0.3 percent lower, Germany's DAX rose 0.1 percent and France's CAC fell 0.5 percent. Italy's FTSE MIB fell 1.2 percent and Portugal's PSI 20 was down 3.2 percent.

Other indicators showed that investors were still jittery.

The Euro STOXX 50 Volatility Index, a widely used measure of investor risk aversion known as the VSTOXX, surged to 31.5, its highest since mid-2012, signalling a rise in risk aversion. The index traded at around 19 only a week ago.

Meanwhile, Japan's Nikkei share average tumbled 2.2 percent to 4-1/2-month lows today hit by deepening worries about weak global growth, lifting the safe-haven yen and dragging down exporters such as Toyota Motor Corp and Honda Motor Co.

The Nikkei ended 335.14 points lower at 14,738.38, its lowest closing level since May 30.

The benchmark stayed below its 200-day moving average for the third consecutive day.

The US economy has been a relatively bright spot in the otherwise darkening global economic picture, and investors have rushed into dollars as a result.

Exporters were battered, with Toyota falling 1.9 percent, Honda sinking 3.9 percent and Panasonic Corp shedding 3.6 percent.

Japanese staffing firm Recruit Holdings Co Ltd surged in its market debut to 3,330 yen, compared with their IPO price of 3,100 yen.

Fujifilm Holdings Corp and other Ebola-related stocks jumped on speculation over which companies would generate higher returns from fears of deadly virus Ebola intensifying in the United States.

Fujifilm gained 1.8 percent and industrial air purifier maker Airtech Japan Ltd jumped 27 percent.

The Topix fell 2.3 percent to 1,195.50, and the JPX-Nikkei Index 400 declined 2.2 percent to 10,891.85.

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Tags:  Stocks  shares  FTSEurofirst  Nikkei  US  Dow Jones  





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