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Saturday, April 17, 2021

Stocks in steep declines as oil, banks weigh on market

NEW YORK (AP) — Falling oil prices continued to weigh on U.S. and global stock markets as investors remained deeply concerned about the global economy following this week’s disappointing Chinese and U.S. manufacturing data. Google’s parent company, Alphabet, overtook Apple as the world’s most valuable publicly traded company.

KEEPING SCORE: The Dow Jones industrial average lost 320 points, or 2 percent, to 16,129 as of 2:30 p.m. Eastern on Tuesday. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index lost 39 points, or 2 percent, to 1,900 and the Nasdaq composite fell 107 points, or 2.3 percent, to 4,513.

GLOBAL FEARS: It’s a busy week on the economic data front, particularly in the U.S., where the week ends with monthly payroll figures. So far, the numbers haven’t impressed. On Monday, the Institute for Supply Management said its gauge of factory activity pointed to a contraction while China’s official survey found that manufacturing fell to its lowest level in more than three years.

Bank stocks fell on worries that oil prices will cause more energy loans to go bad, and that the slowing economy might impact their bottom line. JPMorgan Chase lost $1.95, or 3.3 percent, to $56.90, Bank of America dropped 80 cents, or 6 percent, to $13.16 and Citigroup fell $2.06, or 5 percent, to $40.40.

“This is a market that’s not going anywhere fast. Weak China, weak oil is still with us and will be with us for a while. The market needs time to work through this, and until then, we will see more volatility, particularly because of China,” said Anatasia Amoroso, a global market strategist at JPMorgan Asset Management.

OIL SLIDE: The two reports weighed heavily on oil prices, and the selling pressure continued on Tuesday. Benchmark U.S. oil slumped $1.74, or 5.5 percent, to close at $29.88 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, a day after it plunged nearly 6 percent. Brent crude was down $1.36, or 4 percent, to $32.89 a barrel in London.

Energy companies, as has been the case for several weeks, followed oil prices lower. Exxon Mobil fell $2.52, or 3.3 percent, to $73.69 and Chevron fell $2.71, or 3.2 percent, to $82.56.

“Hope is extinguished for now, as the now two-day fall in crude has regained the market’s focus,” wrote John Briggs, head of Americas fixed income strategy at RBS, in a note to investors.

Chevron and Exxon, once the two world’s largest publicly traded companies, are showing signs of stress under low oil prices. Exxon reported its lowest profit since 2002 and also announced it was curtailing its stock buyback program. Chevron posted its first quarterly loss since 2002 as well.

NEW TECH TITAN: Alphabet, the recently formed parent company of Google, rose $29.71, or 4 percent, to $781.71 after the company’s results handily beat analysts’ forecasts late Monday. With Tuesday’s gains, Alphabet is now the largest publicly traded company by market value, overtaking Apple.

BARBIE BONANZA: Mattel rose $3.24, or 12 percent, to $30.00 after the company reported higher profits and revenue in the company’s closely watched fourth quarter. It was helped by sales of Barbie dolls.

EUROPE AND ASIA’S DAY: Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 finished 0.6 percent lower and South Korea’s Kospi fell 1 percent. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng declined 0.8 percent.

In Europe, Germany’s DAX closed down 1.8 percent, France’s CAC-40 fell 2.5 percent and the U.K.’s FTSE 100 lost 2.7 percent.

BONDS, CURRENCIES: U.S. government bond prices rose. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 1.87 percent from 1.95 percent late Monday. The dollar rose to 120.19 yen from 120.12 yen on Monday. The euro strengthened to $1.0913 from $1.0895.

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