U.S. stocks finished a see-saw session in the red, giving back a strong advance for the major market gauges mid-way through today's session as investors moved to book their gains ahead of the conclusion tomorrow of the Federal Open Market Committee. Shares erased their initial declines after crude stopped its steep fall and began to climb back near its break-even mark for today. The front-month futures contract eventually finished with a tiny rise at nearly $56 per barrel, although that was not enough for the equity markets to hang on to its mid-day advance.
Equities started in a deep hole in deep hole in response to dramatic efforts overnight by the Russian central bank to reverse the freefall for the ruble, including boosting short-term interest rates by 650 basis points to 17%. Economic data today was largely bearish, including November housing starts falling 1.6% and trailing estimates looking for a 3% rise.
Crude oil for January delivery settled 2 cents higher at $55.93 per barrel, rebounding from an earlier slide to $53.60 per barrel, while January natural gas fell 10 cents to $3.62 per 1 million BTU. February gold fell $13.30 amid the upheaval in the global currency markets, finishing at $1,193.90 per ounce.
Here's where U.S. stocks stood at the end-of-day:
Dow Jones Industrial Average down 111.97 (-0.65%) to 17,068.87
S&P 500 down 16.89 (-0.85%) to 1,972.74
Nasdaq Composite Index down 57.32 (-1.24%) to 4,547.83
Hang Seng Index down 1.55%
Shanghai China Composite Index up 2.31%
FTSE 100 Index up 2.41%
(+) NVGN, Said its TRXE-009 drug candidate has been shown to be highly active against melanoma and secondary brain cancers due to melanoma during pre-clinical studies.
(+) TLM, Agrees to $13 bln buyout offer from Spanish energy giant Repsol ( REPYY ), which will exchange $8.00 (C$9.33) for each TLM share, a 75% premium over the stock's seven-day volume-weighted share price.
(+) WG, Narrows Q3 net loss to $3.4 mln from $25.9 mln loss last year. Revenue rises 17% over year-ago period to $559.7 mln during the quarter from $479.1 million last year. Files restated Q1, Q2 results. Also secures new $270 mln term loan due 2019.
(-) CYCC, Data and Safety Monitoring Board concludes sapacitabine drug candidate is unlikely to extend survival in patients with acute myeloid leukemia after 70% of test subjects died within first six months of Phase III testing.
(-) FRO, Oil tanker company enters into private exchange of $22.5 mln of its 4.5% convertible bonds due 2015 for $9.56 mln in cash and 3.98 mln shares of its common stock priced at $3.12 each, an 8.7% premium to Tuesday's closing price.
(-) TLOG, Patients treated with its prospective ovarian cancer drug experienced adverse effect at lower doses than previously expected during Phase Ib testing.
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