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Stocks retreat as energy shares drop with price of oil

U.S. stocks retreated Wednesday after the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index rose the most in a year Tuesday, as energy shares led losses amid a drop in oil prices.

Cimarex Energy Co. and Helmerich & Payne Inc. lost more than 4.6 percent to lead all 43 energy stocks in the S&P 500 lower. Biogen Idec Inc. slid 5.4 percent as sales of its top drug missed analyst estimates. Yahoo! Inc. added 4.5 percent after sales topped estimates. Broadcom Corp. jumped 5.5 percent after reporting earnings that beat estimates and giving a forecast that eased concern that chip orders might be drying up.

The S&P 500 slipped 0.7 percent to 1,927.11. The Dow Jones industrial average slid 153.49 points, or 0.9 percent, to 16,461.32. The Nasdaq Composite Index lost 0.8 percent. Crude oil slid 2.4 percent to $80.52 a barrel, the lowest level on a closing basis in more than two years, after a U.S. report showed inventories increased by 7.11 million barrels last week.

“The market is driven primarily by trader and investor emotion and sentiment,” Michael James, a Los Angeles-based managing director of equity trading at Wedbush Securities Inc., said in a phone interview. “All that’s going to remain consistent in the short term is that volatility is going to continue and that you’re going to have significant swings just based on trader sentiment, without any specific data points.”

Four consecutive advances in the S&P 500 through yesterday pushed the gauge up 4.2 percent since Oct. 15, recouping half the losses from a selloff that began in mid-September. The equity index surged 2 percent yesterday, its best day since October 2013, as speculation the European Central Bank will boost stimulus to spur growth in the region.

Canada’s S&P/TSX Composite Index fell 1.6 percent after a shooting at the national legislature in Ottawa. Stores and office buildings in downtown Ottawa were locked down for about five hours after the unprecedented attack in Canada’s usually sleepy capital, raising terrorism concerns nationwide.

BlackRock Inc. Chief Executive Officer Laurence D. Fink said Tuesday that the selloff last week in U.S. equity markets “weeded out the excesses,” making stocks a good investment for those who aren’t going to sell their positions soon.

About 77 percent of S&P 500 companies that have released quarterly results this season beat profit projections, while 61 percent surpassed revenue estimates. Profit for index members rose 5.9 percent in the third quarter and sales increased 4 percent, analysts predicted.

Yahoo climbed 4.5 percent to $42. The Web portal reported third-quarter revenue, excluding sales shared with partner websites, that beat estimates and forecast sales of $1.14 billion to $1.18 billion for the current period.

Chief Executive Officer Marissa Mayer detailed in a conference call after earnings results how Yahoo has bought back 24 percent of shares since late 2012 and said the company’s dealmaking has been “meaningful.” She added that Yahoo is making progress in mobile and the Web portal has been focused on cost efficiencies.