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US: Stocks fall on tax cut doubts; oil shares hit

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[NEW YORK] Wall Street stocks dropped on Tuesday on nagging doubts about US tax reform and as worries about an oil glut hammered petroleum-linked shares.

Analysts said key differences between the tax bills proposed by the US House and Senate could drag out the long-anticipated proposal, a key aspect of President Donald Trump's economic growth agenda.

Investor conviction is being "stymied by festering US tax reform skepticism," according to a market note from Charles Schwab.

Analysts also said lackluster Chinese economic data and a bearish oil report from the International Energy Agency weighed on sentiment.

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The IEA warned that crude markets were expected to be oversupplied in the current quarter and going into 2018. That sent shares of Apache, Halliburton and Schlumberger down around three percent or more.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished down 0.1 per cent to 23,409.19.

The broad-based S&P 500 shed 0.2 per cent to close at 2,578.86, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index dropped 0.3 per cent to 6,737.87.

General Electric continued to sink after new chief executive John Flannery's turnaround plan, unveiled Monday, disappointed investors. Shares dropped another 5.9 per cent after losing more than 7.0 per cent Monday.

Home-improvement retailer Home Depot advanced 1.4 per cent as it lifted its full-year earnings projections following a sales surge in the wake of US hurricanes.

But TJ Maxx-parent TJX fell 3.9 per cent after reporting flat comparable sales in the third quarter, well below the five percent gain in the year-ago period. Another retailer, Dick's Sporting Goods, lost 2.8 per cent after its earnings report.

Toymaker Mattel jumped 5.1 per cent amid reports it was approached by rival Hasbro about a possible takeover. Hasbro shed 0.9 per cent.

AFP

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