Wall St lit up by tobacco but energy stocks darken

US stocks ended slightly lower yesterday as gains in consumer-related stocks, including tobacco shares, were offset by losses in the energy sector.

Shares of Coca Cola and Procter & Gamble were two of the Dow Jones Industrial Average’s best performers. – up 1.6 per cent to $51.08 and 1.4 per cent to $60.62 respectively.

Consumer shares rose after the government said personal spending rose moderately in May, exceeding expectations, after being flat in April.

Tobacco companies rallied after the US Supreme Court rejected an attempt by the US government to wrest billions of dollars in damages from the tobacco industry. Altria Group gained 3.3 per cent to $20.34 and Reynolds American jumped 4.1 per cent to $53.45. The Dow Jones tobacco index rose 1.8 per cent.

The spotlight, however, was on the consumer as investors and analysts waited for further evidence that consumer spending would show greater strength and propel broad growth.

The Dow Jones industrial average dropped 5.29 points, or 0.05 per cent, to 10,138.52. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index slipped 2.19 points, or 0.20 per cent, to 1,074.57. The Nasdaq Composite Index shed 2.83 points, or 0.13 p cent, to 2,220.65.00.

About 7.08bn shares traded on the New York Stock Exchange, the American Stock Exchange and Nasdaq, the least since April 5.