Stocks fall slightly as oil prices slide

Los Angeles Times - - COMPANY TOWN -

En­ergy com­pa­nies led U.S. stocks mod­estly lower Tues­day, eras­ing the small gains the mar­ket made a day ear­lier.

The big­gest drop in crude oil prices since Oc­to­ber weighed on en­ergy stocks. Dis­ap­point­ing re­sults or out­looks from re­tail­ers and other com­pa­nies also weighed on the mar­ket.

Util­i­ties and con­sumer­fo­cused com­pa­nies bucked the trend.

In­vestors had their eye on Washington, where the House is ex­pected to vote on its ver­sion of a ma­jor tax bill this week. Ex­pec­ta­tions that the tax over­haul will sharply lower cor­po­rate taxes have helped lift the mar­ket this year.

The steep drop in crude oil prices weighed on oil ex­plo­ration com­pa­nies and other en­ergy-sec­tor stocks.

New­field Ex­plo­ration was the big­gest de­cliner in the Stan­dard & Poor’s 500 in­dex, tum­bling 7.1% to $29.82. Range Re­sources fell 6.6% to $17.35.

Bench­mark U.S. crude fell $1.06, or 1.9%, to $55.70 a bar­rel, its big­gest sin­gle-day de­cline since Oc­to­ber. Brent crude, used to price in­ter­na­tional oils, de­clined 95 cents, or 1.5%, to $62.21 a bar­rel.

“There’s this per­cep­tion that there’s a lot of sup­ply wait­ing in the wings, and as prices have moved higher, that’s made the mar­ginal pro­ducer want to come out and just find more oil,” said Eric Freed­man, chief in­vest­ment of­fi­cer of U.S. Bank Wealth Man­age­ment.

Home De­pot rose 1.6% to $168.06 af­ter it turned in bet­ter-than-ex­pected re­sults and raised its out­look for the year.

Ad­vance Auto Parts leaped 16.3% to $95.72 — the big­gest gainer in the S&P 500 — af­ter the com­pany’s lat­est quar­terly earn­ings ex­ceeded ex­pec­ta­tions.

TJX Cos., the par­ent com­pany of T.J. Maxx and Mar­shalls, slid 4% to $67.94 af­ter it re­ported rev­enue and earn­ings that fell short of an­a­lysts’ es­ti­mates.

Gen­eral Elec­tric fell 5.9% to $17.90, slid­ing sharply for the sec­ond day in a row af­ter an­a­lysts down­graded the in­dus­trial con­glom­er­ate. On Mon­day, GE pulled back on profit ex­pec­ta­tions and slashed its div­i­dend in half. Its shares are down 43.4% this year.

Buf­falo Wild Wings soared 24% to $145.35 af­ter a re­port that Roark Cap­i­tal of­fered to buy the chain for $150 a share, or $2.3 bil­lion.

Bond prices rose. The yield on the 10-year Trea­sury note fell to 2.38% from 2.41%.

Whole­sale gaso­line fell 3 cents to $1.76 a gal­lon. Heat­ing oil fell 3 cents to $1.91 a gal­lon. Nat­u­ral gas slid 7 cents to $3.10 per 1,000 cu­bic feet.

Gold rose $4 to $1,282.90 an ounce. Sil­ver rose 3 cents to $17.07 an ounce. Cop­per fell 5 cents to $3.07 a pound.

The dol­lar fell to 113.40 yen from 113.57 yen. The euro rose to $1.1794 from $1.1667.

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