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US: Wall Street weighed down by banks, energy stocks

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[NEW YORK] Wall Street was lower on Friday as a drop in oil prices weighed on energy stocks and as financials came under pressure in the wake of a massive US$14 billion fine slapped on Deutsche Bank.

The far bigger-than-expected penalty was levied by the US Department of Justice to settle claims that the German bank missold mortgage-backed securities. Deutsche Bank's US-listed shares were down 9 per cent.

Dow components Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan fell 1 per cent each. The S&P 500 financial index dropped 1.01 per cent, the biggest among the 10 major S&P sectors.

The energy index was a close second, declining 0.94 per cent as oil prices fell 2.2 per cent on worries of oversupply.

At 9:39 am ET (1339 GMT), the Dow Jones industrial average was down 90.12 points, or 0.49 per cent, at 18,122.36.

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The S&P 500 was down 10.13 points, or 0.47 per cent, at 2,137.13. All the benchmark's major sectors were lower.

The Nasdaq Composite was down 14.61 points, or 0.28 per cent, at 5,235.08.

Helping the tech-heavy index was Intel's 3.14 per cent gain after the chipmaker raised its third-quarter revenue forecast.

However, Oracle was a drag, dropping 2.72 per cent to US$39.75 after it issued a disappointing quarterly profit.

Investors also await the Federal Reserve's meeting starting next Tuesday. While traders have very low expectations of an interest rate hike, investors will be keen for commentary on how the central bank views on the recent sluggish economic data.

The data and contrasting comments from Fed officials on rate hikes have caused the markets to oscillate and volatility to spike in the past few days.

"Like it has been before, Mr Market gets it right in the long term but tends to over react in the short term, and that's what we have seen all this week," said Kim Forrest, senior equity research analyst at Fort Pitt Capital Group in Pittsburgh.

Volatility may rise again on as Friday, which marks the quadruple witching day when investors unwind interests in futures and options contracts prior to expiration.

Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by 1,980 to 685. On the Nasdaq, 1,452 issues fell and 830 advanced.

The S&P 500 index showed three new 52-week highs and no new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 27 new highs and 13 new lows.


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