The US stocks on Thursday dropped modestly with the energy shares primarily responsible for the decline amid a fall in oil prices, while the investors remained vigilant as uncertainty continued to loom large over a debt deal’s prospects with Greece.
In the Dow, the decline was outsized after Walmart slashed its sales outlook while citing the impact of a stronger dollar. The shares dropped 2.5 percent to USD 84.08.
Priceline Group rallied on its results and helped the Nasdaq to remain slightly positive.
Crude oil CLc1 dropped 3.5 percent to USD 50.30 as another big weekly build in the crude inventories of the US and possible increase in the output of Saudi fueled the concerns about oversupply.
The S&P Energy index dropped one percent, by far the largest decliner among the 10 primary S&P sectors.
ConocoPhillips declined 0.8 percent to USD 67.19, while Exxon Mobil dropped 1.2 percent to USD 89.95.
Clem Miller, portfolio manager at Baltimore’s Wilmington International Funds, said, “There’s still a lot of supply, even though we’re looking at a decline in rig counts and expenditures. Right now, the majority view is that oil won’t really start to go up until the middle of the year.”
The energy prices fall has badly hurt the oil firms, with many slashing their spending plans for 2015 in a bearish sign for the prospects of economic growth.
Marathon Oil on Wednesday said that it will be cutting its capital budget for 2015 by 20 percent, the second cut of that magnitude since December, sending the shares down 0.9 percent to USD 28.76.
According to the latest economic data, the initial unemployment claims dropped more than expected last week. The jobless claims report for the latest month offered fresh evidence that America’s labor market was collecting steam.
On other front, a regional survey by the Federal Reserve showed the factory activity growth in the US mid-Atlantic region jolted in February to its slowest level in a year.
The S&P 500 declined 1.81 points, or 0.09 percent, to 2,097.87, the Dow Jones industrial average dropped 34.8 points, or 0.19 percent, to 17,995.05 and the Nasdaq Composite gained 12.13 points, or 0.25 percent, to 4,918.50.
Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by 1,508 to 1,393 for a 1.08-to-1 ratio on the downside; on the Nasdaq, 1,304 issues increased and 1,210 dropped for a 1.08-to-1 ratio favoring advancers.
The Nasdaq Composite was posting 14 new lows and 78 new highs, while the benchmark S&P 500 index was recording one new lows and 53 new 52-week highs.