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US stocks dragged lower by energy woes

US stocks ended soft on Wednesday, dragged lower by weaker oil prices on account of an upset from the official inventories numbers

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A dark day for oil

US stocks ended soft on Wednesday, dragged lower by weaker oil prices on account of an upset from the official inventories numbers.

The S&P 500 closed down 0.3% at 2,175.

Energy was the biggest decliner of the 10 major sectors on the benchmark S&P 500, falling 1.4%, following a report from the Energy Information Administration which showed that stockpiles of US crude unexpectedly climbed in the latest week.

Adding to the bearish trade was the OPEC’s latest monthly oil market report, that showed that Saudi Arabia’s oil output climbed to a record level last month adding to the glut of supply. The news dimmed already low hopes for a production freeze at the OPEC’s informal September meeting.

Meanwhile, the S&P Midcap 400 was off 0.4% to 1,556, the S&P Smallcap 600 lost even more, 0.5%, to 742, while the broader small-cap Russell 2000 had a nosebleed of 0.7% to 1,223.

While energy stocks may have felt the brunt of the days oil news, the drop in the US oil benchmark, the West Texas Intermediate, of 3.1% to $41.46 helped drag the bourse lower too.


Midsession

US stocks sank at midsession on Wednesday after the latest official oil inventories took oil prices south.

Even better news that the number of US job openings ticked up in June failed to cheer the market.

The number of job openings rose 5.6m in June, from 5.5m the previous month, the Bureau of Labor Statistics said in its Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey.

The market bellwether S&P 500 index was down 0.3% at 2,174, while the S&P Midcap 400 also lost 0.3% to 1,557.

The biggest mid-cap decliner was defence equipment maker Orbital Atk Inc (NYSE:OA), down 21.6% to $69.64 lawyers Wolf Popper LLP said they are investigating potential securities fraud claims on behalf of investors resulting from Orbital's revelation that it is "reviewing the prior accounting" of a $2.3 billion long-term contract with the US Army.

The S&P Smallcap 600 was down 0.5% to 742 and led by Tidewater Inc (NYSE:TDW) down 23.4% to $3.57.

The US oil benchmark West Texas Intermediate was down 1.9% to $41.97 after an unseasonal growth in crude stockpiles offset the second-biggest weekly draw in US gasoline this summer.

Data showing Saudi Arabia pumping oil at record high volumes in July added to worries about a global crude glut.

US crude inventories gained 1.1 million barrels in the week ended Aug. 5, the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported, in a third straight week of builds that surprised the market. Analysts polled by Reuters had expected a 1.0 million-barrel crude draw instead.


Open

US shares were a mixed bag at the open, with the Dow Jones the only main index higher.

It added 0.5% to 18,541, while the S&P500 lost 0.05% to 2,180.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq shed 0.17% to 5,216.


US shares are poised to head higher as European equities are drifting lower.

Some Wall Street shares did well yesterday, with the tech-heavy Nasdaq composite posting a fresh record close at 5,225.48, up 0.24%.

However, the Dow Jones closed just 0.02% up at 18,533, while the S&P500 gained just 0.04% to 2,181, both finishing around flat.

It is possible, according to commentators, that there will be fresh highs today.

In futures today, the Dow Jones is six points ahead, the S&P500 is two points higher and the Nasdaq is three points ahead.

FTSE100 is currently 16 down at 6,834. The DAX is 47 lower and the CAC 40 is 13 down.

Gold is o.89% higher at US$1,358 an ounce, while oil is at US$42.57 a barrel - down 0.47%.

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