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Dow's winning run ends as energy falls

THE Dow industrials six-day winning streak came to a halt yesterday as a drop in oil prices pulled energy stocks lower and a guarded outlook from Wal-Mart fanned worries about consumer spending.<br /><br />Stocks were also undermined by a US dollar rally, as its safe-haven appeal rose after several policymakers around the world warned the economic recovery was fragile. <br /><br />With earnings season coming to a close, and looking beyond the Federal Reserve&rsquo;s meeting last week, investors searched for new catalysts to determine the market&rsquo;s direction.<br /><br />&ldquo;As the S&amp;P 500 has gone above 1,100, it has had a hard time holding on to gains,&rdquo; said Quincy Krosby, market strategist at Prudential Financial in Shelton, Connecticut.<br /><br />Both the Dow industrials and the S&amp;P 500 hit 13-month closing highs on Wednesday.<br /><br />Oil futures settled down 3 per cent below $77 per barrel as data confirmed crude and refined product inventories rose last week. The S&amp;P energy sector index fell 2 per cent, with shares of Hess Corp down 2.5 per cent to $55.95 and Occidental Petroleum Corp down 1.6 per cent to $81.81.<br /><br />The Dow Jones industrial average fell 93.79 points, or 0.91 per cent, to 10,197.47. The Standard &amp; Poor&rsquo;s 500 Index dropped 11.27 points, or 1.03 per cent, to 1,087.24. The Nasdaq Composite Index lost 17.88 points, or 0.83 per cent, to 2,149.02.<br /><br />&ldquo;In order to get to the next level up, (the market) does need a strong catalyst, and most of the time the stronger dollar has been a negative,&rdquo; Krosby said.<br /><br />Shares of insurers and banks were among top laggards, with the S&amp;P financial sector index down 1.8 per cent.<br /><br />Wal-Mart, the world&rsquo;s largest retailer, reported a higher quarterly profit and its shares rose 0.5 per cent to $53.24, but it forecast earnings for the key holiday quarter that could miss Wall Street&rsquo;s consensus estimate. <br /><br />Concern about consumer spending weighed on the S&amp;P retail index, which fell 0.8 per cent.<br /><br />After the market&rsquo;s close, shares of Walt Disney Co jumped 3.6 per cent to $30.10 after the media company posted a rise in quarterly earnings and its revenue was higher than expected. <br />