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Overnight Markets: Wall Street stumbles as oil slide continues

JP Morgan plunged 4.2% after the lender said it will increase provisions for expected losses on energy loans by $500 million.

 
Overnight Markets: Wall Street stumbles as oil slide continues

Wall Street stocks slumped on Tuesday from six-week highs, as crude dropped on concern OPEC members won’t curb output.

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 189 points, or 1.14%, to 16,432, the S&P 500 lost 24 points, or 1.25%, to 1,921 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 67 points, or 1.47%, to 4,504.

Crude prices settled down more than 4% as Saudi Oil Minister Ali Al-Naimi effectively ruled out production cuts anytime soon. Energy shares tumbled 3.2% on Tuesday, leading declines among S&P sectors. Freeport-McMoRan Inc. was down 8.7% and Chevron Corp. sank 4.4%.

Shares of JP Morgan plunged 4.2% after the largest US bank by assets said it will increase provisions for expected losses on energy loans by $500 million, or more than 60% of its existing reserves. Financial stocks, the worst performing group this year, fell another 1.8% on Tuesday.

Economic data on Tuesday showed sales of previously owned US homes unexpectedly rose in January to the second-fastest pace since early 2007. A separate report showed the Conference Board’s consumer confidence index decreased to 92.2 in February from a revised 97.8 a month earlier.

Fitbit plummeted 20.8% after the wearable fitness device maker forecast profit below estimates.

Western Digital dropped 7.2% after it cut the price of its planned acquisition of rival US hard-disk maker SanDisk Corp by more than $3 billion after losing a big investment from China's Unisplendour Corp Ltd. SanDisk fell 1.6%.

In commodities, gold rose as investors bought metal through funds at the fastest pace in almost six years. Gold futures for April delivery advanced for the fourth time in five days, adding 1.4% to $1,227.20 an ounce.

In Asia, shares traded mostly lower on Wednesday in morning trade, with a combination of low oil prices, concerns over China and weak overnight data weighing on investor sentiment.

In Japan, the benchmark Nikkei 225 retraced losses over 1.7% early on to trade down 0.9%. Across the Korean Strait, the Kospi erased early losses to trade flat. Hong Kong's Hang Seng index was down 1.12%.

Down Under, the S&P/ASX 200 traded 1.6% down, with most sectors in the red. Chinese markets were mixed with the main Shanghai composite trading up 0.1%.

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