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December 15, 2017
Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Wall Street rally fades as crude retreats

Wall Street's early gains evaporated, led by a drop in Amazon and other consumer discretionary stocks, while crude oil prices struggled to end their losing streak.

Amazon fell 2.3 percent to $603.77 and was the biggest drag on the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq.

Crude prices once again moved toward $30 per barrel, but held ground above the key level, after data showed a bigger-than-expected increase in US crude stockpiles last week.

Stocks as well as oil prices rose earlier in the session after data showed China's exports and imports fell less than expected in December, allaying concerns about the health of the world's second-biggest economy.

Oil prices have fallen for seven days in a row.

The Dow Jones industrial average was down 8.42 points, or 0.05 percent, at 16,507.8. The S&P 500 was up 1.58 points, or 0.08 percent, at 1,940.26 and the Nasdaq Composite index was down 5.54 points, or 0.12 percent, at 4,680.38.

Six of the 10 major S&P sectors were lower, led by a 0.66 percent drop in the consumer discretionary sector.

The S&P energy sector gave up most of its gains and was up marginally at 0.18 percent.

The US Treasury Department is scheduled to release its budget report for December at 2 p.m.

Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by 1,590 to 1,329. On the Nasdaq, 1,554 issues fell and 1,074 advanced.

The S&P 500 index showed two new 52-week highs and 21 new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded six new highs and 181 new lows.

In Europe, shares rose led by Dutch insurer Aegon following a business update, with better-than-expected Chinese trade data also providing support.

Gains made earlier in the session were reduced when some investors took profit, underlining the fragility of sentiment after a rocky start to the year due to fears over a slowdown in China.

The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 rose 0.2 percent to 1,352 points, extending Tuesday's gains. Earlier in the session the index hit a high of 1,374 points. Germany's DAX dipped into the red to fall 0.3 percent.

Worries over the pace of economic growth in China caused the FTSEurofirst index to dip to a three-month low on Monday after in four straight sessions of declines.

Commodities-related stocks were in demand as metals and oil prices rose. The European mining and energy indexes gained 1.5 percent and 2.4 percent respectively, helped by rises in Rio Tinto, BHP Billiton, BP and Royal Dutch Shell of between 1.1 and 5 percent.

Aegon surged 9.6 percent, making it the biggest gainer in the pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index. The group provided an update on its strategy, gave financial targets and said it will increase its profitability and capital returns.

Earlier on Wednesday, sentiment was lifted slightly after data showed China's total trade fell far less than expected in December. Exports fell 1.4 percent from a year earlier, compared to a forecast 8 percent drop and a 6.8 percent decline in November.

China's central bank held the line on the yuan for a fourth straight session, calming fears of a sustained depreciation. Having been alarmed by a near 5-percent slide in the currency since August, investors appeared relieved by the relative calm.

European companies' earnings are expected to grow at their fastest rate in four years, significantly outpacing their US peers as a weaker euro and signs of economic recovery swell profit margins.

Meanwhile, Japanese stocks rebounded sharply and posted their first gains of 2016 after better-than-expected China's trade data soothed sentiment and a weaker yen lifted oversold exporters.

The Nikkei share average rose 2.9 percent to 17,715.63, posting the biggest daily percentage gain since early September.

The broader Topix also rose 2.9 percent to 1,442.09 and the JPX-Nikkei Index 400 gained 2.9 percent to 12,986.76.

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