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Overnight Markets: Commodity shares weigh on Wall Street

Overnight Markets: Commodity shares weigh on Wall Street

Wall Street closed lower on Tuesday with investors cashing in some of the recent market gains in late selling as commodity shares slumped with copper and oil prices amid concern over China’s economy.

The Dow Jones industrial average declined 67 points or 0.41%, to 16,351, the S&P 500 lost 10 points or 0.51%, to 1,868 and the Nasdaq Composite fell 27 points or 0.63%, to 4,307.

Shares oscillated between gains and losses in the first half of the session amid lack of major corporate earnings, but they closed near day’s lows.

Investors continued to watch the situation in Ukraine. Interior Minister Arsen Avakov said yesterday the country may mobilise 20,000 people to protect its borders.

Commodities shares declined, with Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold (FCX.N) dropping 2.1%. Copper futures slid as much as 3% to the lowest level since July 2010 as signs of slowing economic growth in China sparked concern demand will slump.

Energy companies also slipped as oil prices lost 1.1%, touching below $100 a barrel, on speculation a government report will show US supplies rose last week. Exxon Mobil Corp. slid 1.6% and Chevron Corp. lost 1.2%.

Urban Outfitters (URBN.O) lost 4.3% after it reported lower-than-expected quarterly sales and said it was "very cautious" on its current quarter.

American Eagle Outfitters (AEO.N) slumped 7.8% after it forecast earnings for the current quarter that were short of expectations.

General Motors (GM.N) plunged 5.1% as federal prosecutors in New York examine whether the car maker is criminally liable for failing to properly disclose problems in some vehicles that were linked to 13 deaths and led to a recall last month.

Shares of fuel cell maker Plug Power (PLUG.O) plunged 41.5% after short-seller Citron Research said the fair value of the stock was 50 cents.

In deal news, Men's Wearhouse (MW.N) said it would acquire rival Jos. A. Bank Clothiers (JOSB.O) for nearly $1.8 billion. Men's Wearhouse shares rose 4.7% and Jos. A. Bank added 3.9%.

In Asia, shares fell on Wednesday in late morning session as Japanese equities plunged on a stronger yen and mining companies slid amid concern about China’s economic outlook.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index declined 1.4% to 136 as of 11:09 a.m. in Tokyo. Japan’s Topix index fell 1.9% after the yen yesterday rose the most in a more than a week against the dollar.

Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index fell 1.1%. South Korea’s Kospi Index decreased 1.2%. New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index lost 0.2%. Taiwan’s Taiex index dropped 0.5% and Singapore’s Straits Times Index slipped 0.7%.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index sank 1.5%, while China’s Shanghai Composite Index lost 0.2%.

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