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US: Wall St rally falters as oil prices skid

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[NEW YORK] A two-day rally by US stocks faltered on Thursday as oil prices fell sharply and investors shifted their focus from Brexit to broader economic factors.

The three major indexes have recouped more than half of the losses suffered after a shock vote by Britain to leave the European Union. In a two-day panic selloff after the vote, global markets lost about US$3 trillion in value.

Oil prices fell about 2 per cent, snapping a two-day rally, as investors booked profits amid resumption of supply from Nigeria. "The focus now shifts to reality and the performance of the global economy, which is not all that promising," said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at First Standard Financial in New York.

Mr Cardillo also noted that some traders would make adjustments to their portfolios as the quarter ends.

At 10.01 am ET the Dow Jones industrial average was up 34.11 points, or 0.19 per cent, at 17,728.79, the S&P 500 was up 1.09 points, or 0.05 per cent, at 2,071.86 and the Nasdaq Composite was up 1.69 points, or 0.04 per cent, at 4,780.94.

The three indexes had risen more than 1.5 per cent in the past two days.

Data showed the number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits rose last week to 268,000, but remained below a level associated with a healthy labor market.

REUTERS