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Overnight Markets: Wall Street ends mixed as oil resumes decline

Mild gains on the back of consumer-discretionary and consumer-staples companies were offset by decline in energy shares.

 
Overnight Markets: Wall Street ends mixed as oil resumes decline

Wall Street closed mixed on Monday as mild gains on the back of consumer-discretionary and consumer-staples companies were offset by energy shares which suffered due to a fresh drop in oil prices and investors.

The S&P 500 index rose one point to close at 2,037. The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 20 points, or 0.1%, to close at 17,535. The Nasdaq Composite bucked the trend to decline seven points, or 0.1%, to finish at 4,767.

A fresh drop in oil prices to below $40 a barrel weighed on the market, hitting energy stocks. On the data front, a reading on housing showed that pending home sales rose 3.5% in February.

Earlier, the PCE index, the Federal Reserve’s preferred inflation barometer, rose just 1% in the past 12 months ended in February, down from 1.2% in the prior month.

Notable S&P 500 winners were Marriott International Inc., which may find itself in a bidding war over Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc. and Time Warner Inc. Starwood shares closed up 2%. Time Warner closed up 3.6%.

Energy names were among the biggest laggards with Noble Energy Inc. sinking 8.2%. The Dow Jones rose, led by gains in General Electric Co. and 3M Co.

Shares of Cal-Maine Foods Inc. jumped to end 8.8% after the company’s profit climbed 26% in the latest quarter, benefiting from higher egg prices.

Pandora Media Inc.’s stocks tumbled to finish 12% lower after the Internet music service said its chief executive officer Brian McAndrews is leaving the company.

Avon Products Inc. rallied to close up 8.4% after the company said it has reached a deal with activist investors that will allow the beauty-products retailer it to sidestep a proxy fight.

In Asia, most stocks were lower on Tuesday ahead of key U.S. data and continued concern over whether the U.S. Federal Reserve might hike interest rates at its April meeting.

The Japanese Nikkei 225 retraced some losses to trade lower by 0.39%, while the Topix was down 0.49%. Across the Korean Strait, the Kospi advanced by 0.24%. Hong Kong's Hang Seng index was off by 0.32%.

Chinese markets were lower, with the Shanghai composite off by 0.53%, while the Shenzhen composite fell 1%.

Australia's ASX 200 was lower by 0.65%, after being closed for the Easter holiday on Friday and Monday.

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