Midday Update: Stocks Resume Slide on Weak Energy Shares, Disappointing Economic Data

Stocks resumed their downward spiral Tuesday, reversing earlier gains that were compromised by data showing slowing Q4 economic growth and another steep decline in the energy sector. With crude oil falling under $48 per barrel today, Wall Street has been increasingly unnerved by fears the damage to the U.S. energy industry will begin to soon reverberate throughout the broader economy.

Consumer and financial stocks also were weighing on the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 while the Nasdaq Composite index was under-performing as a result of weakness in the biotech and semiconductor sectors.

Among today's economic data, the Purchasing Managers Index for the services industry was revised lower to a final 53.3 reading for December from the flash 53.6 reading, also declining from 56.2 in November.

The Institute for Supply Management also today reported similar results with its index for the non-manufacturing sector of the economy dropping to a lower-than-expected 56.2 last month from 59.3 in November.

On the manufacturing front, factory orders contracted another 0.7% in November, matching a similar decline the month prior. Analysts expected a drop of 0.6%.

European markets were also undermined by the sell-off in oil, but also by disappointing EU-zone non-manufacturing data, and the building uncertainty surrounding Greece and its likely impact on the European Union. All the major European benchmark indices were in the red

Crude oil was down $1.88 to $48.13 per barrel. Natural gas was down $0.02 to $2.85 per 1 million BTU. Gold was up $11.00 to $1,215.00 an ounce, while silver was down $0.10 to $16.31 an ounce. Copper was unchanged at $2.76 per pound.

Among energy ETFs, the United States Oil Fund was down 3.27% to $18.19 with the United States Natural Gas Fund was down 2.69% to $14.47. Amongst precious-metal funds, the Market Vectors Gold Miners ETF was up 4.69% to 20.36 while SPDR Gold Shares was up 0.78% to $116.70. The iShares Silver Trust was up 0.71% to $15.61.

Here's where the U.S. markets stand at mid-day:

NYSE Composite Index down 127.54 (-1.20%) to 10,480.14

Dow Jones Industrial Average down 197.51 (-1.13%) to 17,304.14

S&P 500 down 24.07 (-1.19%) to 1,996.51

Nasdaq Composite Index down 81.67 (-1.76%) to 4,570.91


Nikkei 225 Index down 3.02%

Hang Seng Index down 0.99%

Shanghai China Composite Index up 0.03%

FTSE 100 Index down 0.79%

CAC 40 down 0.68%

DAX down ).04%


NYSE Energy Sector Index down 1.74%

NYSE Financial Sector Index down 1.52%

NYSE Healthcare Sector Index down 0.44%


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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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