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US: Stocks close lower: S&P loses 0.84%


[NEW YORK] Nervous investors sold down US stocks on Monday after surviving last week's turbulence, amid continued worries over the potential broader impact of China's slowdown.

Caution was warranted as the Tokyo and Shanghai exchanges fell again and Europe's major bourses also sagged, with the exception of London, closed for a banking holiday.

After trading lower all day, the Dow Jones Industrial Average finished down 114.98 points (0.69 per cent) at 16,528.03.

The broader S&P 500 lost 16.69 points (0.84 per cent) at 1,972.18, and the Nasdaq Composite gave up 51.82 (1.07 per cent) at 4,776.51.

There was little concrete news to drive trade; the weekend's central banking conference in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, shed no light on whether the Federal Reserve was likely to begin raising interest rates in September.

Analysts said the markets were still not free of the turbulence that sparked huge selloffs across the world, and sometimes nearly as sharp recoveries, last week.

"The downside risks for most commodity prices, exchange rates, and stock markets are likely to persist for some time, while growth in many parts of the world, especially in emerging markets, is likely to deteriorate further," said Nariman Behravesh of IHS.

"On the other hand, with market valuations now much lower than recent peaks, the equity markets in the developed world are likely to come under much less pressure. This is especially true of the US economy, where fundamentals remain strong." Even so, quipped Bill Lynch of Hinsdale Associates, "it's a safe bet to say it can't be any more volatile than last week!"

An early plunge in oil-related shares gave way to strong gains after crude prices rocketed higher for a third straight session, helped by a report of lower US output than thought and Opec's suggestion that it was ready to deal with low prices from the production side.

ExxonMobil added 0.23 per cent, Chevron 0.65 per cent, and Schlumberger 2.4 per cent.

Refiner Phillips 66 shot up 2.4 per cent on news that Berkshire Hathaway had built a US$4.5 billion stake in the company.

General Motors surged 1.5 per cent after Fiat Chrysler Automobiles chief Sergio Marchionne told Automotive News that it "would be unconscionable" for GM not to seriously weigh a merger of the two.

Marchionne said a merger would result in "cataclysmic changes in performance, just huge," and hinted that he could take the case to investors.

FCA shares meanwhile tumbled 1.5 per cent.

In tech stocks, battered Twitter staged a 3.6 per cent rebound while Chinese giant Alibaba sank 5.6 per cent.

Bond prices slid. The yield on the 10-year US Treasury rose to 2.20 per cent from 2.18 per cent Friday, while the 30-year moved to 2.93 per cent from 2.92 per cent. Bond prices and yields move inversely.