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Overnight Markets: US stocks end lower as oil declines

And Asian share markets had an uninspired finish on the final trading day of 2015.

 
Overnight Markets: US stocks end lower as oil declines

US stocks fell on Wednesday after a decline in oil prices rippled through markets, triggering losses in energy stocks and currencies of commodity-exporting countries.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 117 points, or 0.7%, lower at 17,604. The S&P 500 index closed down 15 points, or 0.7%, at 2,063. Meanwhile, the Nasdaq Composite Index fell 42 points, or 0.8%, to end at 5,066.

The decline in the broader market was led by energy sector after US crude-oil prices plunged 3.4% to $36.60 a barrel as Saudi Arabia reiterated its commitment to keeping oil production high and data showed an increase in US crude supplies. Exxon Mobil shed 1.3%.

Traders yesterday were also keeping an eye on Amazon.com Inc. and Google parent Alphabet Inc. after their shares scored record closes on Tuesday. Amazon’s shares closed down 0.7% yesterday, while Alphabet’s finished down 0.5%. Nike Inc. fell 1.6%.

Shares in Pep Boys fell 2.9% following news that activist investor Carl Icahn would buy the Philadelphia-based auto-parts chain, ending the bidding war with Japanese tire company Bridgestone Corp.

Meanwhile, KaloBios Pharmaceuticals Inc. - the company that is majority owned by controversial biotech investor Martin Shkreli - has filed for bankruptcy. Shares have been halted since 17 December.

In economic news, pending home sales dipped 0.9% in November, missing economists’ expectations for a 1% increase. Meanwhile, International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde warned in a guest column for Germany’s Handelsblatt newspaper that global economic growth will be “disappointing and uneven in 2016.”

In Asia, share markets had an uninspired finish on the final trading day of 2015, as investors kept an eye on oil prices for further clues going into 2016, after a turbulent year for stocks.

In Australia, the ASX 200 finished the final trading day of the year in the red, down 0.45%. For the whole year, the index shed 2.13%. In China, the Shanghai Composite index closed down 0.9% on the day. For the year, the mainland bourse closed 9.4% higher.

The Hong Kong Hang Seng closed early today, ending the day narrowly higher and down on the year by 7.2%. The Japanese and South Korean markets remain closed today.

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