Belfast Telegraph

US stocks close lower as crude oil price declines

Energy companies led US stocks slightly lower on Monday as the price of crude oil declined, breaking a three-day winning streak for the Standard & Poor's 500 index.

Phone company and real estate stocks were also among the big decliners, while technology and industrial companies made tiny gains.

Investors are continuing to focus on company earnings reports this week as they size up the health of Corporate America.

With just over half of the companies in the S&P 500 having reported quarterly results, most have posted annual earnings growth, b ut that has not been enough to significantly move the stock market, which remains at near-record levels.

"A lot of this earnings growth we're seeing now is already priced in," said David Schiegoleit, managing director at the Private Client Reserve at US Bank. "It would have to extend further in order to push markets higher."

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 19.04 points, or 0.1%, to 20,052.42; the S&P 500 index slid 4.86 points, or 0.2%, to 2,292.56; and the Nasdaq composite index gave up 3.21 points, or 0.1%, to 5,663.55.

On Friday the Nasdaq closed at a record high and the S&P 500 came within a point of an all-time high.

The major stock indexes headed lower from the start of trading on Monday. They drifted a bit early on, but remained in the red most of the day.

Disappointing results and outlooks from several companies put traders in a selling mood.

Newell Brands slid 5.7% after the maker of Rubbermaid, Sharpie, Elmer's Glue and other products reported disappointing sales and issued a full-year sales forecast that fell far short of analysts' estimates.

The company said the strong dollar and fewer people shopping at malls hurt sales of some key products. The stock gave up 2.66 dollars to 44.23 dollars.

Sysco fell 2.6% after the food distributor reported better earnings, but its revenue was weaker than expected. The stock lost 1.34 dollars to 51.20 dollars.

Few companies got a bigger lift from earnings news than Hasbro.

The toymaker rose 14.1% after it posted fourth-quarter profit and sales that beat Wall Street's estimates, aided by better sales of toys marketed to girls, including Disney Princess and Frozen products.

The stock led all the gainers in the S&P 500, climbing 11.68 dollars to 94.31 dollars. Rival Mattel also got a lift, adding 10 cents to 25.92 dollars.

Tyson Foods fell 3.5% after the company disclosed in a quarterly filing that it has received a subpoena from the Securities and Exchange Commission as part of an antitrust probe. The stock shed 2.26 dollars to 63.13 dollars.

News of an executive shake-up at Tiffany & Co sent shares in the jewellery company lower.

Chief executive Frederic Cumenal stepped down on Sunday amid concerns about the company's financial performance. Tiffany said it had already begun to search for a successor. Michael Kowalski, chairman of the board of directors and previous chief executive of Tiffany, was tapped to serve as interim chief. Tiffany shed 1.98 dollars, or 2.5%, to 78.49 dollars.

Energy futures were broadly lower, weighing on oil and gas companies.

Benchmark US crude fell 82 cents, or 1.5%, to close at 53.01 dollars a barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, lost 1.09 dollars, or 1.9%, to 55.72 dollars a barrel in London.

In other energy trading, wholesale petrol fell 4 cents to 1.51 dollars a gallon, while heating oil slid 3 cents to 1.64 dollars a gallon, and natural gas futures slipped a penny to 3.05 dollars per 1,000 cubic feet.

Offshore drilling services company Transocean fell 43 cents, or 3.1%, to 13.54 dollars; Devon Energy slid 1.52 dollars, or 3.2%, to 45.27 dollars, and Chesapeake Energy dipped 19 cents, or 2.9%, to 6.38 dollars.

Major stock indexes in Europe closed lower on Monday.

Germany's Dax fell 1.2%, while France's CAC 40 slid 1%, and Britain's FTSE 100 edged 0.2% lower.

Earlier in Asia, Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 added 0.3%, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng rose 1.0%.

Australia's S&P/ASX 200 lost earlier gains and inched down 0.1%, South Korea's Kospi gained 0.2%, and benchmarks were also higher in Taiwan and Singapore.

Bond prices rose - the 10-year Treasury yield fell to 2.42% from 2.47% late on Friday.

The euro fell to 1.0748 dollars from 1.0765 on Friday. The dollar slipped to 111.83 yen from 112.96.

Among metals, the price of gold rose 11.30 dollars to 1,232.10 dollars an ounce, silver added 21 cents to 17.69 dollars an ounce, and copper rose 4 cents to 2.65 dollars a pound.