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US: Stocks dip amid weakness in oil shares


[NEW YORK] Wall Street stocks sagged on Thursday for a second straight session, with weakness in petroleum-linked shares dragging the market further below records earlier in the week.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 0.5 per cent to 26,307.79.

The broad-based S&P 500 shed 0.2 per cent, closing at 2,917.52, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite also fell 0.2 per cent to settle at 8,036.77.

Both the S&P 500 and Nasdaq closed at records in recent days.

Analysts said the market was still digesting Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell's comments from Wednesday, which put a damper on expectations for an interest rate cut anytime soon.

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Also, there has been a broad expectation that the market would pull back at some point after a nearly unbroken run higher through the first four months of 2019, analysts said.

Adding to that are seasonal factors, with the market historically pulling back in May, a trend that inspired the adage: "Sell in May and go away."

Petroleum producers were an especially vulnerable sector, with Exxon Mobil losing 1.7 per cent, Devon Energy 2.8 per cent and Marathon Oil 5.8 per cent.

Chemical company Dow fell 6.0 per cent after projecting lower-than-expected revenue in the second quarter.

Tesla Motors rose 4.3 per cent as it announced it would raise as much as US$2.3 billion in debt and equity to boost its cash position. The news had been telegraphed by chief executive Elon Musk on an April 24 conference call that sent shares lower.

Food company Beyond Meat more than doubled in its market debut to finish at US$65.75 after an initial public offering priced at $25.

Markets are looking ahead to the all-important US government jobs report for April, which is due out Friday.

Analysts expect the economy added another 200,000 jobs last month while the unemployment held steady at 3.8 per cent.


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