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US: Stocks fall on lower oil, murky monetary outlook


[NEW YORK] Wall Street stocks fell on lower oil prices and a murky outlook for US monetary policy Tuesday, the third straight day that major US indices experienced moves of one per cent or more.

Analysts attributed the swings to contradictory signals from US Federal Reserve officials on the likelihood of an imminent interest rate hike.

"It's been a yo-yo the last few days," said Bill Lynch, director of investments at Hinsdale Associates.

"We're going to be in a period between now and the Fed's meeting next week where there could be increased volatility." The Dow Jones Industrial Average shed 1.4 per cent to 18,066.75.

The broad-based S&P 500 dropped 1.5 per cent to 2,127.02, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index shed 1.1 per cent to 5,155.25.

Dow members ExxonMobil and Chevron both lost more than two per cent as oil prices slumped after the International Energy Agency slashed its demand growth forecast.

Freeport-McMoRan sank 8.2 per cent following news it will sell its deepwater Gulf of Mexico properties to Anadarko Petroleum for about US$2.1 billion. Anadarko dipped 0.5 per cent.

Wells Fargo sank 3.8 per cent after Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew blasted the bank over its bogus accounts scandal. Wells Fargo said it would eliminate product sales goals for retail banking after it was fined US$185 million by regulators.

Apple was the lone member of the Dow to gain, rising 2.6 per cent after Sprint and T-Mobile reported strong orders for the new iPhone 7. The phones will be delivered beginning Friday.

Pandora Media lost 1.3 per cent as it announced that it had struck licensing deals with Universal and Sony Music, two of the three major record label conglomerates, although not for the moment with the third, Warner Music.