Stocks pull back from record, dragged down by energy stocks

Reuters

The British pound was under pressure Tuesday after Bank of England Governor Mark Carney reined back market expectations that the bank would soon raise interest rates, while oil prices struck 2017 lows on worries over a glut in the market.

Brent crude and USA crude futures pared some losses and were up about 0.4 percent.

US stock indexes steadied Wednesday as oil prices inched higher.

Eight of the 11 major S&P sectors were lower, with the energy index's 1.64 percent fall leading the decliners. The S&P energy index was the weakest of the S&P's 11 sectors with a 1% drop.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 41.67 points, or 0.19 percent, to 21,425.47, the S&P 500 had lost 0.62 point, or 0.03 percent, to 2,436.41 and the Nasdaq Composite had added 44.02 points, or 0.71 percent, to 6,232.05.

Oil equipment and exploration stocks were at the bottom of the pile as traders continued pushing crude oil futures lower.

United States stocks closed lower on Tuesday as a sharp drop in oil prices hurt energy stocks and retail stocks were pulled down by concerns about Amazon.com's plan to boost its apparel business, while investors also anxious about future Federal Reserve rate hikes. The index fell more than 13 percent during the period, while the S&P 500 rallied 8.85 percent.

The price of oil has been bouncing between $40 and $60 per barrel for much of the a year ago, down from a peak of more than $110 in the summer of 2013.

Still, many investors and analysts say they remain cautiously optimistic on the outlook for the USA stock market.

"The story truly is energy right now", said JJ Kinahan, chief market strategist at TD Ameritrade.

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"We are starting to get into that area where people are thinking some of the shale exploration is going to go down".

Stocks are easing mostly lower in morning trading on Wall Street, a day after big gains from tech companies pushed indexes to their latest record highs.

FedEx was up about 1 percent after the package delivery company reported a quarterly profit that beat analysts' estimates and forecast higher earnings for fiscal 2018. Goldman Sachs was off 0.4 percent and Bank of America fell 1 percent, weighing on the Dow and the S&P. The move, which will begin next year, will likely cause big shifts of money by mutual funds and other investors that track the index into mainland Chinese stocks.

Alongside MSCI's addition of China "A" shares to the emerging markets benchmark, the index provider decided not to add Argentina to the same index and will consult on adding Saudi Arabia.

Light, sweet crude for July delivery settled down 97USc, or 2.2%, at $US43.23 a barrel in NY, more than 20% below this year's high of $US54.45 on February 23.

MARKETS OVERSESAS: The French CAC 40 slipped 0.3 percent, the German DAX lost 0.6 percent and the FTSE 100 fell 0.7 percent. The Hang Seng Index fell 0.93%, but mainland markets made modest gains.

Yields rise as bond prices fall. The two-year yield held steady at 1.36 percent, and the 30-year yield fell to 2.75 percent from 2.79 percent.

CURRENCIES: The dollar weakened to 111.14 yen from 111.46, while the euro strengthened to $1.115 from $1.113.

The big four banks lost 2-3 percent. Natural gas rose 3 cents to $2.94 per 1,000 cubic feet.

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