December 13, 2017
Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Wall Street muted as investors recover from selloff

US stocks were recovering from a bruising selloff on the first trading day of the year, but early gains evaporated as investors remained wary of a global economic slowdown.

The shaky start to the year was also underpinned by a fall in crude oil prices. Energy stocks dragged the S&P 500 down, with Exxon and Chevron weighing the most.

Healthcare stocks, however, provided some support, boosted by Gilead and UnitedHealth.

Global stocks plunged on Monday, with the Dow making its worst start to a year since 2008, after weak factory data out of China and the United States.

The slide prompted the People's Bank of China to inject $20 billion in a bid to stabilize its markets.

The Dow Jones industrial average was down 8.42 points, or 0.05 percent, at 17,140.52, the S&P 500 was up 2.85 points, or 0.14 percent, at 2,015.51 and the Nasdaq Composite index was up 8.43 points, or 0.17 percent, at 4,911.52.

Six of the 10 major S&P sectors were higher, led by a 0.82 percent rise in health stocks.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners on the NYSE by 1,705 to 1,256. On the Nasdaq, 1,476 issues rose and 1,137 fell.

The S&P 500 index showed three new 52-week highs and five new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 13 new highs and 34 lows.

In Europe, shares were edging lower, giving up earlier gains as uncertainty over China continued to weigh on sentiment, while gains among telecoms and miners provided some support.

The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index fell 0.2 percent after falling 2.5 percent on Monday, its biggest one-day drop since early December, following a 7 percent drop in Chinese markets.

European equities tried to bounce back in early deals following a stabilisation in China, a day after poor Chinese factory data triggered a global sell-off. But the rebound was short lived and volatility was rising with the Euro STOXX 50 Volatility Index up 1.3 percent.

Telecoms stocks outperformed, after telecom operator Orange confirmed it was in renewed preliminary talks about a merger with rival Bouygues Telecom. Bouygues rose 0.9 percent, Altice climbed 5.7 percent and Numericable surged 9.6 percent. Orange was also up 0.6 percent.

The STOXX Europe 600 Basic Resources index rose 1 percent, the top sectoral gainer, as prices of key industrial metals rose after slumping in the previous session.

However, British clothing retailer Next fell 5.4 percent after saying its sales performance in the run-up to Christmas was disappointing. It blamed unusually warm weather in November and December, poor stock availability and increased online competition.

Meanwhile, Japanese stocks fell for a second day in choppy trade to a fresh 2-1/2-month low after Chinese stocks returned to negative territory, capping investors' risk appetite.

The Nikkei share average ended 0.4 percent lower at 18,374.00, the lowest closing level since Oct. 20. Earlier in trade, the index had flirted with positive territory.

The broader Topix dropped 0.3 percent to 1,504.71 and the JPX-Nikkei Index 400 declined 0.4 percent to 13,547.19.

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