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Overnight Markets: US stocks edge lower after volatile session
A late-day rally led by materials and healthcare shares offset another big drop in oil prices.
US stocks ended slightly lower on Tuesday, with the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index holding near its lowest since April 2014, as a late-day rally led by materials and healthcare shares offset another big drop in oil prices.
The Dow Jones industrial average closed down 13 points, or 0.08%, to 16,014, the S&P 500 lost one point, or 0.07%, to 1,852 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 15 points, or 0.35%, to 4,269.
Energy stocks suffered the most, with the energy index falling 2.5% as US crude settled 5.9% lower.
Shares of Anadarko Petroleum (APC.N) dropped 7% after the company announced late in the session that it was cutting its dividend. Other energy companies like Consol (CNX), Oneok (OKE) and Southwestern Energy (SWN) were among the day's biggest losers, each shedding 10% or more.
Energy giant Chevron Corp., down 3.57%, was leading the Dow industrials decliners.
On the other hand, Pfizer (PFE.N), up 1.9%, and Gilead (GILD.O), up 2.3%, gave the biggest boosts to the S&P 500. Healthcare was the second-best performing sector of the day after materials.
Some of the recently beaten-down Internet names seemed to ease. Shares of Netflix (NFLX.O) gained 3.4%, while Salesforce.com (CRM.N) jumped 6.1%. Facebook (FB.O) was off just 0.2%.
Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co. rallied 4.2% despite the company’s report of a fourth-quarter loss. Coca-Cola Co. closed up 1.5% after the company reported fourth-quarter revenue of $10 billion, above expectations of $9.9 billion.
Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen is expected to defend the US central bank's first rate increase in a decade and likely insist that further rises this year remain on track, albeit at a slower pace, when she addresses Congress on Wednesday.
In Asia, stocks fell on Wednesday in morning trade as a week of volatile trading in global equities continued, with Japanese shares extending losses after the biggest one-day plunge since August.
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index slipped 0.9% to 117 as of 10:16 a.m. in Tokyo. In Japan, Nikkei Stock Average 225 was down 2.65%, while Australia’s ASX All Ordinaries Index was trading 1.84% lower.
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