U.S. Stocks Down Despite Surge in Energy Sector

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

U.S. stocks slipped Monday as declines in health-care shares offset gains in energy stocks.

The pullback came in a relatively light day of trading after a strong July jobs report helped lift the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq Composite toall-time highs The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countriesat the end of last week.

Roughly 5.8 billion shares changed hands Monday, making it the seventh-lowest volume day of the year so far.

Many investors are trying to figure out how to square the job additions with other more disappointing indicators, including U.S. gross-domestic-product growth, said Kenny Polcari, director of equities at O’Neil Securities.

“What’s the important number, this one [jobs] report or this slew of other macro data that continues to be weak?” he said. “The market today is just trying to figure it out.”

Oil companies got a boost after the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries said it would hold informal talks in September, raising hopes for an output freeze and sending U.S. oil prices to a two-week high.

U.S. crude rose 2.9% on Monday to $43.02 a barrel, after dipping below $40 last week on concerns about a glut of gasoline.

Energy companies in the S&P 500 gained 1.2%. Marathon Oil added 38 cents, or 2.7%, to $14.25. Transocean rose 29 cents, or 2.6%, to 11.31.

The health-care sector led declines in the S&P 500, falling 0.8%. Allergan fell 5.54, or 2.2%, to 248.31 after it reported that losses doubled in its latest quarter. Bristol-Myers Squibb fell 2.98, or 4.7%, to 60.30, adding to Friday’s losses after one of its cancer drugs failed in a clinical trial.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 14.24 points, or about 0.1%, to 18529.29, its ninth decline in the past 11 sessions. The S&P 500 lost 1.98 points, or roughly 0.1%, to 2180.89, and the Nasdaq Composite fell 7.98 points, or 0.2%, to 5213.14—both snapping a three-session winning streak.

The Stoxx Europe 600 edged up less than 0.1%. London’s FTSE 100 index closed at its highest level in more than a year.

“It’s really all to do with sterling weakness,” saidMichelle McGrade, chief investment officer at brokerage TD Direct Investing in London. Meanwhile, “with interest rates going down, people are looking for places to put their money,” she added.

The dollar rose 0.2% against the pound to $1.3040, for a 13% gain this year.

Earlier Monday, Japan led Asian markets higher. Japan’s Nikkei Stock Average gained 2.4% as the weaker yen boosted the competitiveness of Japanese exporters.

The dollar increased 0.6% against the yen to ¥102.45.

The Shanghai Composite Index rose 0.9%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index added 1.6%, while Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 rose 0.7%.

This article originally appeared in the Wall Street Journal. To view the original article, please click here