Investing.com -- U.S. stocks tumbled nearly 1%, as a Fed-inspired rally stemming from its historic rate hike a session earlier was dented by the continual downturn in crude oil prices , amid festering concerns related to the supply-demand imbalance on energy markets worldwide.
U.S. crude future prices tumbled below $35 a barrel on Thursday, falling near seven-year lows from the start of the week. Over the last year, crude has slumped approximately 50% dragging down energy stocks and equity markets, as a whole. The energy rout has had widespread ramifications on the global economy, impacting major oil-producing states on all corners of the world. While delivering his year-end annual press conference on Thursday, Russia president Vladimir Putin noted that the country's 2016 budget is based on crude at $50 a barrel.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 253.11 or 1.43% to 17,495.98, while the NASDAQ Composite index dropped 68.58 or 1.35% to 5,002.55, each halting a three-day winning streak. The S&P 500 Composite index, meanwhile, lost 31.18 or 1.50% to 2,041.89, as nine of 10 sectors closed in the red. Stocks in the Energy, Basic Materials and Industrials sectors lagged, each falling by more than 1.50% on the session. Stocks in the Utilities industry, the lone sector to close in positive territory, led.
On Wednesday, the Federal Reserve ended its seven-year policy of holding interest rates at near-zero levels when it approved a modest quarter-point rate hike.
The top performer on the Dow was UnitedHealth Group Incorporated (N:UNH), which gained 0.65 or 0.55% to 119.48, one day after analysts at Credit Suisse (VX:CSGN) upgraded its rating to outperform. Earlier this week, Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D - Connecticut) asked the nation's largest healthcare insurer to reconsider its proposed decision to leave the Obamacare state-run health care exchanges. The worst performer was Caterpillar Inc (N:CAT), which fell 2.70 or 3.99% to 65.02, pushed down by cascading prices in mining and other commodities.
Shares in Apple Inc (O:AAPL) lost more than 2% 108.98, after the tech giant named Jeff Williams as its Chief Operating Officer in its latest series of leadership changes. Williams' appointment represents the first time Apple (O:AAPL) has restored the title since Tim Cook became CEO in 2011.
The biggest gainer on the NASDAQ was Micron Technology Inc (O:MU) which gained 0.21 or 1.49% to 14.28, amid strong valuations from a host of top analysts. Shares in Micron, one of the largest memory semiconductors in the world, are down by nearly 60% this year. The worst performer was Wynn Resorts Limited (O:WYNN), which fell 4.74 or 6.87% to 64.25 after it received a downgrade by analysts at Zacks Investment Research. Last week, Wynn Resorts received a boost after CEO Steve Wynn announced that he was purchasing a million shares in the multinational casino.
The top performer on the S&P 500 was CONSOL Energy Inc (N:CNX), which gained 0.27 or 4.05% to 6.94. The worst performer was Freeport-McMoran Copper & Gold Inc (N:FCX), which plunged 0.58 or 8.67% to 6.11. Freeport McMoran, a Phoenix-based mining company, is one of the world's largest producers of gold and copper. Gold futures crashed by $25 an ounce to near multi-year lows on Thursday in the aftermath of the Fed's move.
Major interest rate hikes are viewed as bearish for gold, which struggles to compete with high-yield bearing assets.
On the New York Stock Exchange, declining issues outnumbered advancing ones by a 1,952 to 1,156 margin.
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