US stocks fall as oil prices hit energy shares

US stocks fell yesterday in light trading after a rally that drove the S&P 500 last week to its highest level in nearly five years and as falling oil prices hit energy shares.

The decline broke a four-day streak of gains for the S&P 500. On Friday, both the Dow and the S&P 500 ended at highs not seen since December 2007, after the Federal Reserve on Thursday unveiled new stimulus measure.

The action followed a decision by the European Central Bank to support debt-ridden Eurozone nations by purchasing their debt.

Equities’ move is mainly consolidation following last week’s big move higher, said Bruce Zaro, chief technical strategist at Delta Global Asset Management in Boston.

“I think the signal that the Fed gave last week is likely to have a lasting effect, and carry through to the end of the year,” he said.

Financials were among sectors leading the day’s decline. The S&P financial index fell 1.1 per cent. Bank of America shares lost 2.6 per cent to $9.30.

An S&P index of energy shares fell 0.8 per cent, slipping in sync with oil prices, which tumbled sharply in afternoon trading.

The market’s losses were limited by Apple, which hit another all-time high of $699.80 with demand for its new iPhone 5 exceeding initial supply. The stock nudged $700 after-hours.

The Dow Jones industrial average slipped 40.27 points, or 0.30 per cent, to end at 13,553.10. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index shed 4.58 points, or 0.31 per cent, to 1,461.19. The Nasdaq Composite Index dropped 5.28 points, or 0.17 per cent, to close at 3,178.67.