Energy index and China data drag US stocks - New York Report

THE S&P posted its biggest daily percentage drop since 22 October yesterday as oil’s slump to a five-year low caused a selloff in energy shares.

Worries about global growth added to the bearish tone. Data showed China’s exports grew at a slower-than-expected pace and imports dropped in November, while Japan’s economy shrank more than expected in the third quarter.

The S&P energy index tumbled 3.9 per cent and traded at its lowest since June 2013 as Brent crude fell to a five-year low on predictions oversupply would keep building until next year. Leading the decline, shares of Exxon Mobil fell 2.3 percent to $91.70 while shares of Chevron dropped 3.7 per cent to $106.80.

The energy index is now down 12.8 per cent for the year and is the only major S&P sectors in negative territory for 2014. The S&P 500 is up 11.5 per cent for the year so far.

Most growth-oriented sectors also fell, suggesting investors were avoiding riskier market areas.

Meanwhile several of the year’s biggest gainers also sold off, possibly due to year-end profit-taking, said Michael James, managing director of equity trading at Wedbush Securities in Los Angeles. Among them, Apple was down 2.3 per cent at $112.40, while GoPro shares fell 6.3 per cent at $67.65.

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 106.31 points, or 0.59 per cent, to 17,852.48, the S&P 500 lost 15.06 points, or 0.73 per cent, to 2,060.31 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 40.06 points, or 0.84 per cent, to 4,740.69.

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