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US shares open lower on profit-taking


[NEW YORK] Stocks opened lower on Wall Street Monday as traders took profits after last week's surge, opting to wait for new signals on the strength of the economy.

But a rise in crude prices on reports that Saudi Arabia has offered a production cap deal to Iran gave a slight boost to energy shares.

Thirty minutes into trade, the Dow Jones Industrial Average shed 0.8 per cent to 18,122.02.

The broad-based S&P 500 declined 0.6 per cent to 2,150.77, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index dropped 0.7 per cent to 5,266.22.

Pfizer shares fell 1.7 per cent after the drugmaker cancelled plans to split into two separate public companies, originally mulled as a way to maximize shareholder value.

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"Over time, any potential gap between Pfizer's market valuation and an implied Sum of the Parts market valuation has closed," the company said.

Nevertheless the company reserved the option for a split "should factors materially change at some point in the future."

A gain in oil prices as Opec and other producers, notably Russia, prepared for output talks in Algiers with Riyadh reportedly having offered to pull back production to January levels if other producers, especially Iran, also give some ground.

"Every state in the organization agrees on the need to stabilize prices, it just remains for us to find a format that pleases everyone," said Algeria's energy minister Noureddine Boutarfa.

Chevron shares added 0.3 per cent and Schlumberger 0.2 per cent.

Twitter slipped 2.4 per cent but left intact most of Friday's 22.5 per cent gain amid stronger talk that it is fielding takeover offers from major tech players like Alphabet, Salesforce and Microsoft.


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