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US: Early Wall Street rally fizzles as stocks end lower

[NEW YORK] Wall Street closed lower on Tuesday after hitting an intraday record high, with a dip in oil prices weighing on investor enthusiasm.

Robust corporate earnings earlier in the day had sent the blue-chip Dow Jones Industrial Average across the threshold of 26,000 points, building on gains from Friday's record finish.

But the Dow finished essentially flat on Tuesday at 25,792.86, while the broader S&P 500 fell 0.4 per cent to 2,776.42.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq suffered the heaviest losses, falling 0.5 per cent to 7,223.69.

Karl Haeling of LBBW told AFP that Wall Street's continuing race to new heights appeared unjustified.

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"The rally has continued since early 2018 without a real explanation," he said. "The market is exhausted."

Benchmark West Texas Intermediate crude fell more than a dollar in New York to settle at US$63.73 per barrel.

And oil stocks helped push the Dow lower, with Chevron falling 1.2 per cent and Exxon Mobil giving up 0.6 per cent.

But troubled engineering giant General Electric was the Dow's biggest loser, tumbling 2.9 per cent after reporting a US$6.2 billion fourth-quarter writeoff tied to problems in GE Capital, the company's finance arm.

The day's early spike in the Dow had been sparked by robust earnings from Citigroup and UnitedHealth.

Citi gained 0.4 per cent after reporting robust quarterly earnings despite booking a US$22 billion charge tied to last month's passage of a major US tax overhaul.

United held on to early gains after reporting earnings that beat expectations, finishing the day up 1.9 per cent.


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