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December 15, 2017
Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Wall Street sells off as Exxon Mobil, oil weigh

US stocks dropped today after another steep drop in oil prices and a disappointing spending forecast from Exxon Mobil.

Shares of Exxon fell 2.2 percent to $74.59 after the oil major reported its smallest quarterly profit in more than a decade, forecast a 25-percent drop in capital spending from 2015 levels and suspended share repurchases.

Earlier Tuesday, BP Plc reported an annual loss of $6.5 billion, its largest ever.

The S&P energy index slid 3.3 percent, the biggest drag on the S&P 500. Brent LCOc1 and US crude CLc1 fell as hopes faded for a deal between OPEC and Russia to cut output.

Data so far this earnings period shows the capital spending slump that originated in the hard-hit energy sector was spreading more widely across other U.S. industries.

The Dow Jones industrial average closed down 295.64 points, or 1.8 percent, to 16,153.54, the S&P 500 lost 36.35 points, or 1.87 percent, to 1,903.03 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 103.42 points, or 2.24 percent, to 4,516.95.

The Dow Jones transportation average ended 2.9-percent lower following news of the first US transmission of the Zika virus.

The S&P 500 is down 6.9 percent since the start of the year. Investors have been concerned about a China-led global economic slowdown, tepid US economic data, the pace of rate hikes by the Federal Reserve and weak earnings. Fourth-quarter S&P 500 earnings are expected to have fallen 4.4 percent from a year earlier, according to Thomson Reuters data.

Investors are also keeping an eye on the US election cycle, with Senator Ted Cruz winning the Republican caucus in Iowa on Monday and Democrat Hillary Clinton narrowly edging out Senator Bernie Sanders.

Iowa results created greater uncertainty because there were no clear winners, said Rick Meckler, president of LibertyView Capital Management in Jersey City, New Jersey.

About 8.5 billion shares changed hands on US exchanges, below the 9.2 billion daily average for the past 20 trading days, according to Thomson Reuters data.

NYSE declining issues outnumbered advancers 2,478 to 603, for a 4.11-to-1 ratio on the downside; on the Nasdaq, 2,237 issues fell and 577 advanced for a 3.88-to-1 ratio.

The S&P 500 posted 15 new 52-week highs and 28 lows; the Nasdaq recorded 22 new highs and 143 lows.

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