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US: Stocks drop as weak oil prices drag down oil shares

[NEW YORK] Wall Street stocks fell on Wednesday on doubts about President Donald Trump's tax cut proposal as weakness in oil prices dragged down petroleum-linked equities.

Analysts expressed concern that an increasingly complex Capitol Hill debate on taxes could delay or derail the long-anticipated measure. The most recent idea in the Senate is to repeal the Obamacare individual mandate as part of the plan.

"are making their own progress, but at the end, they will have to reach an agreement," said Karl Haeling of LBBW.

"I don't think they will get anything before 2018. There are too many differences between the proposals," he said, referring to the House and Senate versions of the legislation.

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Petroleum producers, including Dow members ExxonMobil and Chevron, declined with oil prices after a US oil inventory report showed higher production.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended down 0.6 per cent at 23,261.27.

The broad-based S&P 500 also shed 0.6 per cent to 2,564.62, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index declined 0.5 per cent to 6,706.21.

Big-box retailer Target sank 9.9 per cent after forecasting fourth-quarter comparable sales would be anywhere from flat to up two percent. The company's fourth-quarter profit estimate also was lower than analysts expected.

Target competitors Wal-Mart Stores and Costco Wholesale each lost about 1.5 per cent. Wal-Mart is scheduled to report results on Thursday.

General Electric gained 2.0 per cent, rallying a bit after two days of steep declines at disappointment over a turnaround plan that disappointed investors.

Bank of America gained 2.1 per cent after Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway disclosed a larger stake in the company.

AFP

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