Stock Market News for March 15, 2017

Oil prices fell on Tuesday following rising crude supply concerns, which in turn led benchmarks to close in the red. OPEC reported that crude inventories throughout the globe have increased which weighed on oil prices and dragged energy stocks lower. Additionally, a blizzard hit north-eastern U.S., which negatively affected airways, leading to losses for airline stocks. Investors refrained from making big bets during the Fed's two-day policy meeting, which is scheduled to end today.

For a look at the issues currently facing the markets, make sure to read today's Ahead of Wall Street article.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) decreased 0.1%, to close at XOM,CVX,E,20,881.48. The S&P 500 rose 0.87 points to close at 2,373.47. The tech-laden Nasdaq Composite Index closed at 5,875.78, gaining 0.2%. The fear-gauge CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) declined 2.2% to settle at 11.40. A total of around 6.18 billion shares were traded on Monday lower than the last 20-session average of 6.93 billion shares. Advancers outpaced declining stocks on the NYSE. For 57% stocks that advanced, 39% declined.

Energy Shares Decline

Rise in global crude inventories adversely affected oil prices. OPEC reportedly said that "despite the supply adjustment" on the part of major oil producing nations, crude stocks continued "to rise, not just in the US, but also in Europe." Leading OPEC member Saudi Arabia said the nation was "committed" to stabilize the international crude market. However, the country's oil production advanced to 10.011 million barrels per day (bpd) last month, significantly higher than the 9.748 million bpd recorded in the prior month.

WTI crude prices declined 1.4% to $47.72 per barrel, reaching its lowest level since Nov 29. Brent crude prices fell 0.8% to $50.92 a barrel. This amounts to a loss of 9.1% over the last six sessions, the longest stretch of declines since the latter half of 2016.

Energy shares took a beating due to drop in oil prices. The Energy Select Sector SPDR (XLE) decreased 1.1% and emerged as the worst performing sector in the S&P 500. Some of its key holdings, including Chevron Corporation ( CVX ) and Exxon Mobil Corporation ( XOM ) dropped 1.8% and 0.5%, respectively. Both the companies possess a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today's Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

Winter Storm Stella Weighed on Airline Stocks

Normal life has been disrupted with the "life threatening" winter storm Stella wreaking havoc and predicted to cause further damage. After affecting the Midwest, the storm headed toward the East. With the storm crippling normal life, it is of little wonder that airline stocks have been hurt severely as travel plans have gone haywire. (Read More: Winter Storm Stella Grounds Airline Stocks: More Pain Ahead? )

The US Global Jets (JETS) fell 2.3% yesterday. Some of its key components, including Southwest Airlines Co. ( LUV ), United Continental Holdings, Inc. ( UAL ) and Delta Air Lines, Inc. ( DAL ) declined 3%, 4.7% and 2.3%, respectively.

Economic News

In economic news, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that Producer Price Index (PPI) rose 0.3% last month, beating the consensus estimate of a 0.1% increase. Also, core-PPI increased 0.3% in February, higher than consensus estimate of 0.2% rise. Both PPI and core-PPI advanced 2.2% and 1.5% year-over-year.

Separately, the Fed is widely expected to hike rates at its Mar 14-15 FOMC meeting. As per the FedWatch tool of CME Group, expectations about a hike this month are currently at 93%. Also, investors looked for clues about the pace and number of further rate hikes this year.

Stocks That Made Headlines

Will Euronet Lure Moneygram Away from Alibaba Offer?

Moneygram International Inc. ( MGI ) has received another proposal for acquisition. This time the bidder is Kansas-based Euronet Worldwide ( EEFT ). ( Read More )

Eni Claims Discovery of Huge Natural Gas Deposit in Egypt

Eni SpA 's ( E ) official claimed that the discovery of an enormous natural gas deposit in Egyptian waters has raised hopes of other such finds in the eastern Mediterranean. ( Read More )

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Exxon Mobil Corporation (XOM): Free Stock Analysis Report

Chevron Corporation (CVX): Free Stock Analysis Report

ENI S.p.A. (E): Free Stock Analysis Report

Euronet Worldwide, Inc. (EEFT): Free Stock Analysis Report

Moneygram International, Inc. (MGI): Free Stock Analysis Report

Southwest Airlines Company (LUV): Free Stock Analysis Report

Delta Air Lines, Inc. (DAL): Free Stock Analysis Report

United Continental Holdings, Inc. (UAL): Free Stock Analysis Report

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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.

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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