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Overnight Markets: Commodity stocks drag Wall Street lower

Brussels bombings continued to reverberate through the market, hitting especially shares of companies tied to travel and tourism.

Overnight Markets: Commodity stocks drag Wall Street lower

Wall Street ended down on Wednesday as energy and materials share prices fell after crude futures suffered their worst percentage decline in a month.

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 79 points, or 0.45%, to 17,503, the S&P 500 lost 13 points, or 0.64%, to 2,037 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 53 points, or 1.1%, to 4,769.

Energy stocks led the S&P 500 lower, falling 2.1% as oil prices fell. US crude oil tumbled 4% to $39.79 a barrel as US government data confirmed a large rise in crude stockpiles, adding to the global glut of oil.

Dow member Chevron fell 1.8%, while ConocoPhillips tumbled 4.8%.

The bombings in Brussels on Tuesday that killed 31 people and wounded some 270 continued to reverberate through the market, hitting especially shares of companies tied to travel and tourism.

United Airlines lost 1.2% and hotel chain Hilton Worldwide shed 1.5%. Online travel stocks TripAdvisor and Priceline also fell.

Dow member Nike declined 3.8% after reporting that third-quarter sales were $8 billion, below the $8.2 billion expected by analysts.

Gilead Sciences fell 3.9% after a California jury ruled that rival drug company Merck should be able to seek royalties for Gilead's profitable Sovaldi drug for hepatitis C. Dow member Merck rose 0.1%.

Software company Red Hat lost 3.1% as it reported fourth-quarter earnings of $53 million, up 10.4% from the year-ago period. However, said the company's $764 million in billings came in a bit below expectations.

In Asia, shares markets were mostly lower on Thursday in morning session, following losses in US equities overnight amid fresh declines in oil prices.

Japan's Nikkei 225 reversed early losses to trade up 0.13%, while South Korea's Kospi index fell 0.24% and Hong Kong's Hang Seng index was down 0.77%.

Chinese markets were mixed, with the Shanghai composite off by 0.67%, while the Shenzhen composite was flat. Down Under, the benchmark ASX 200 was off by 1.07%.

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