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US: Weak oil hits Dow; Nasdaq edges to new record

41060102 - 07_01_2017 - US-DOW-HOVERS-NEAR-RECORD-20,000-MARK.jpg

[NEW YORK] Petroleum-linked shares tumbled on Monday on lower oil prices as the Dow pulled back from its campaign to hit 20,000 points.

US stocks opened the week on a generally downcast note, with the Nasdaq edging up, but the Dow and S&P 500 retreating.

"I think that people are having a hard time justifying going dramatically above 20,000 in the Dow because of what it would represent in terms of valuation," said Sam Stovall, chief investment strategist at CFRA.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average shed 0.4 per cent to close at 19,887.38.

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The broad-based S&P 500 fell 0.4 per cent to 2,268,90, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index rose 0.2 per cent to 5,531.82, a new closing record.

Petroleum-oriented companies ExxonMobil, Halliburton and Apache all lost one per cent or more as oil prices fell sharply on questions about the effectiveness of an Opec deal to cut output.

Pharmaceutical stocks mostly pushed higher, with Merck, Amgen and Mylan all climbing by more than one per cent.

Utility company Entergy shed 2.9 per cent after it announced a deal with state officials to close the Indian Point nuclear power plant near New York. The company will take a US$2.4 billion charge in the fourth-quarter due to the move.

Veterinary and pet-care company VCA surged 28.3 per cent after it announced a deal to be acquired by privately-held Mars for US$9.1 billion.