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US: Stocks fall on lower oil, weak China data

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[NEW YORK] Petroleum and banking equities retreated on Tuesday, reversing recent gains after oil prices fell and China reported poor trade figures.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average shed 109.85 points (0.64 per cent) at 16,964.10.

The broad-based S&P 500 fell 22.50 (1.12 per cent) to 1,979.26, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index dropped 59.43 (1.26 per cent) to 4,648.82.

Dow members ExxonMobil and Chevron both lost more than 2.0 per cent. Even bigger declines came at midsized companies ConocoPhillips and Apache, which were down 6.7 per cent and 9.5 per cent, respectively.

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The retreat in energy shares was "not surprising" given the gains of the last couple of weeks, said Art Hogan, chief market strategist at Wunderlich Securities.

"Look at the run they've had," he said.

Chinese trade data for February raised new questions about the health of the world's second-biggest economy, with exports sinking 25.4 per cent and imports dropping 13.8 per cent.

Citigroup tumbled 3.7 per cent after chief financial officer John Gerspach told an investor conference that trading revenues were down 15 per cent in the first quarter from a year ago, while revenues from investment banking slid 25 per cent.

Other banks were also lower. JPMorgan Chase lost 1.9 per cent, Goldman Sachs 2.4 per cent and Bank of America 3.5 per cent.

United Continental fell 2.2 per cent after a pair of large shareholders accused the board of directors of the parent of United Airlines on Tuesday of doing too little to improve performance and announced plans to nominate six people to the board.

The campaign comes just days before chief executive Oscar Munoz returns to work full-time after suffering a heart attack in October.

Urban Outfitters surged 16.1 per cent after reporting better-than-expected earnings for the quarter ending January 31. Net sales were slightly above US$1 billion and a bit above those in the year-ago period.

Shake Shack tumbled 11.8 per cent after reporting a 46.8 per cent surge in revenues to US$51.1 million in the fourth quarter and projecting same-store sales growth of between 2.5 and 3.0 per cent in 2016. Analysts said the drop in shares reflected worries about a lofty valuation.

AFP

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