U.S. Stocks Open With Steep Losses as Oil Slides

U.S. Stocks Oil Price FallsU.S. stocks opened sharply lower on Wednesday as a tumble in oil prices dragged down energy stocks. Wall Street is set to log a drop for the fourth time in five sessions.

As of 10:53 a.m. in New York, the Dow Jones Industrial Average retreated 1.3% to 16,219, the S&P 500 fell 1.3% to 1,896, while the tech-heavy NASDAQ Composite sank 1.4% to 4,435.

Four shares dropped for every issue that advanced in the S&P gauge as eight of its ten sectors were in negative territory. Energy and raw-material shares were the mostly hit with a 4.7% and 2.3% loss respectively.

Oil slipped on Wednesday after Saudi Arabia, one of the world’s largest oil producing countries, ruled out production cuts. U.S. crude oil was down 3.3% at $30.84.

In data, a report from the Commerce Department showed that sales of new homes plummeted 9.2% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 494,000 in January, meaning a rise in inventory.

Global equities were in the red on Wednesday. In London, the FTSE 100 tumbled 1.9%, while in Frankfurt, the DAX slid 3%. In Paris, the CAC 40 surrendered 2.7%. In Asia, the Tokyo’s Nikkei closed 0.85% lower.

Gold prices continued their year-to-day rally, adding 2.5% to $1,250.

American depositary receipts of BHP Billiton Limited (NYSE:BHP) extended losses, shedding 9.1% to $21.89. The world’s largest miner had slashed its dividend by 75% Tuesday morning.

Chesapeake Energy Corporation (NYSE:CHK) surged 19.6% to $2.69 even as the second-largest U.S. natural gas producer swung to a heavy loss in its fourth quarter and took a write-down on some of its energy assets.

JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE:JPM) declined 3.2% to $54.33 after the largest U.S. bank by assets  said it would set aside another $500 million in provisions for expected losses on energy loans. The stock is down 18% so far this year.

Lowe’s Companies, Inc. (NYSE:LOW) decreased 4.5% to $64.85. The second-largest U.S. home-improvement retailer failed to post fourth-quarter results better than its rival Home Depot Inc’s (NYSE:HD) despite the steady improvement in the U.S. housing market.

GameStop Corp. (NYSE:GME) skidded 4% to 28.26 even as the largest video-game specialty retailer hiked its quarterly dividend by one cent to $0.37 a share.

First Solar, Inc. (NASDAQ:FSLR) soared 11% to $68.58. The largest developer of utility-sized solar farms posted its third quarterly revenue beat in a row.

Since the beginning of the year, the S&P 500, NASDAQ, and the 30-member Dow has have retreated 7.1%, 11.3%, 6.9% respectively.

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