Belfast Telegraph

Falling oil prices send stocks lower

Falling prices for oil and other commodities pulled US stocks modestly lower, nudging the Standard & Poor's 500 index slightly into the red for the year and putting it on course to snap a five-week winning streak.

Energy and mining companies led the decline, while consumer staples and utilities stocks bucked the broader downward trend.

Disappointing earnings from several companies, including Nike, also weighed on the market. Oil slumped 4%.

Trading was muted ahead of Friday, when markets will be closed for the Good Friday holiday.

"It's one of the lowest volume days of the year," said Erik Davidson, chief investment officer for Wells Fargo Private Bank. "We're seeing a little bit of a sell-off, but not much."

Investors can expect similarly low trading volume on Thursday.

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 79.98 points, or 0.5%, to 17,502.59. The S&P 500 index lost 13.09 points, or 0.6%, to 2,036.71. The Nasdaq composite dropped 52.80 points, or 1.1%, to 4,768.86.

The Dow is now up 0.5% for the year, while the S&P 500 is down 0.4% and the Nasdaq is off 4.8%.