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Stocks retreat as oil price slumps on supply worry

Stocks retreat as oil price slumps on supply worry

US stock indexes held steady in early trading Wednesday after the price of oil stabilized.

In 3.22pm trading, the Standard & Poor's 500 Index dropped 0.5 percent.

At 11:37 a.m. ET, the Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index fell 103.47 points, or 0.68 per cent, to 15,162.57.

Nine of the S&P 500's 11 industry groups fell, as energy stocks (-1.3%) extended losses for the year's worst performing sector after WTI crude fell below $43/bbl before closing 2.1% lower at $43.53/bbl.

OTHER MARKETS ABROAD: In Europe, France's CAC 40 fell 0.5 percent, Germany's DAX lost 0.4 percent and the FTSE 100 in London slipped 0.3 percent. "Clearly, to this point the Goldilocks scenario and earnings have pushed stock prices higher but oil has perhaps tempered some sentiment near-term", said Terry Sandven, chief equity strategist at U.S.

A big focus for Asia is whether index provider MSCI will later in the day open up its Emerging Markets Index to Chinese mainland shares which have restricted access for foreign investors.

In recent trading, the Nasdaq has jumped to a new high for the session and is now up 43.28 points or 0.7 percent at 6,231.31.

On the economic front, total existing home sales climbed 1.1 per cent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.62 million in May from a downwardly revised 5.56 million in April, beating market consensus, according to the National Association of Realtors on Wednesday.

The Dow and benchmark S&P 500 had hit fresh records on Monday, buoyed by tech stocks.

GETTING ACTIVE: La-Z-Boy jumped $4.40, or 16.8 percent, to $30.60 after reporting quarterly earnings that easily topped analysts' expectations. The Nasdaq composite fell 20 points, or 0.3 per cent, to 6,218. How much of an impact that will have on most 401 (k) accounts will depend on how much it undercuts energy companies' profits, and whether the pain will spill into other areas of the market.

A recovery in technology stocks also appeared to have lost momentum, adding to the overall weakness.

Parexel jumped $3.28, or 3.9 percent, to $87.20.

Brent crude dropped by more than a dollar on Tuesday to $45.62 a barrel, the lowest point since November previous year, while USA crude also fell by more than a dollar to $42.93.

Bond prices rose. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 2.16 per cent. On the Nasdaq, 1,948 issues fell and 862 advanced. Natural gas rose 3 cents to $2.94 per 1,000 cubic feet, heating oil was flat at $1.40 per gallon and wholesale gasoline rose 1 cent to $1.44 per gallon. On the Nasdaq, 1,310 issues rose and 886 fell.

CURRENCIES: The dollar weakened to 111.25 yen from 111.46, while the euro was almost flat at $1.113.

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