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Overnight Markets: US stocks down on stimulus bets

Overnight Markets: US stocks down on stimulus bets

Wall Street continued its decline on Wednesday after investors found few reasons to make big moves and weighed economic data for clues on the timing of Federal Reserve stimulus cuts.

The Dow Jones industrial average slipped 25 points, or 0.16%, to end at 15,890. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index declined two points, or 0.13%, to finish at 1,793. But the Nasdaq Composite Index inched up just one point to close at 4,038.

Investors expect the Fed to announce a cut in its $85 billion in monthly bond purchases in March, but recent economic data increased expectations that the move may come sooner. The central bank has said it would start tapering its stimulus programme when certain economic measures meet its targets, including a decline in the US unemployment rate.

Meanwhile, the ADP National Employment Report showed private-sector employers added 215,000 jobs in November, exceeding expectations.

Energy sector gained yesterday after US crude oil futures prices advanced 1.2%, up for a fourth straight day as government data showed an unexpected drop in US stockpiles. Marathon Oil (MRO.N) added 1.4%, while Hess Corp (HES.N) gained 1.3%.

On the negative side, clothing retailer Express Inc (EXPR.N) tumbled 23% after the company forecast quarterly earnings below analysts' estimates because of weaker-than-expected Thanksgiving sales.

OmniVision Technologies Inc (OVTI.O) lost 2.9% after the chipmaker forecast current-quarter revenue well below analysts' estimates.

Aeropostale Inc (ARO.N) fell 3.6% after the bell following the release of its third-quarter results.

Oculus Innovative Sciences Inc (OCLS.O) jumped 103.4% after the company got the go-ahead from the US Food and Drug Administration for its anti-scar gel.

Sears Holdings Corp. plunged 8.3% after Edward Lampert, the hedge-fund manager who for the past eight years tried to turn around the company, cut his stake to below 50%.

Teradata Corp. lost 6.2% after Morgan Stanley reduced its rating on the stock. CF Industries Holdings Inc. (CF) jumped 11% after the fertiliser producer said it is considering partnership structures.

In Asia, most shares declined on Thursday as investors speculated about the fate of US stimulus, while Australian bond yields climbed to a two-year high.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index was little changed at 1:03 p.m. in Tokyo. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index slipped 0.9%. Japan’s Topix fell 0.2%, extending yesterday’s 1.7% decline. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index retreated 0.3% and the Shanghai Composite Index slid 0.1%.

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