Closing bell: Markets end mixed, weighed by oil, Fed expectations

Monday, 28. March 2016 22:21

Stock markets in the United States and Canada traded in slower pace on Monday. Investors were keeping one eye on the oil prices, which settled lower in a low volume trade, since European markets were closed for Easter holiday. The other eye has turned towards the U.S. Federal Reserve, as Chairwoman Janet Yellen was preparing her speech for Tuesday. Markets were trying find clues when the next interest rate hike is to come, while all-important jobs report and manufacturing data would follow later in the week.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 0.11% higher at 17,535 points. The General Electric Company added 1.22%, and the industry group 3M rose 1.11%, followed by the Walt Disney Company, which climbed 0.89%. Microsoft Corporation lost 1.24%, Pfizer dropped 1.00% and the Boeing Company landed down 0.63%.

The S&P 500 edged up 0.05% at 2,037 points at the very last moments of the trading day. CSRA Inc. jumped 6.16%, and Time Warner Inc. enjoyed a rise of 3.93% following the wildly successful weekend at the box office with "Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice", which pulled in $424 million since opening on Friday. Noble Energy Inc. plunged 8.19%, and Endo International Plc fell 4.59%. Tesoro corporation slid 2.68%.

The Nasdaq 100 dropped 0.17% to close at 4,398 points. Marriot International and Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. kept rising on the merger decision, adding 3.93% and 1.99% respectively, but the merger might be in danger with another higher offer from Chinese Anbang insurance group. Netflix, Inc. climbed up 2.90% and Viacom Inc. followed, adding 1.70%, boosting media sector. Vertex Pharmaceutical Incorporated lost 2.33% and BioMarin Pharmaceuticals Incorporated fell 2.31%, indicating a weak biotech sector performance.

In Toronto, the benchmark S&P/TSX Composite index edged up 0.24% to close at 13,390 points. Consumer sector pulled the index up, while health care, mining, energy, materials, and IT were under pressure. Stuart Olson Inc. rose 4.99%, while Performance Sports Group Ltd. plunged 7.48%.

Oil prices were back on the sliding path with lower trading volume, and settled lower by the end of the U.S. trading session. The U.S. sweet crude oil West Texas Intermediate for shipment in May was down by 0.59% to $40.53 a barrel at 9:58 p.m. CET (3:58 a.m. EST), after hitting daily high $41.27 a barrel. The international benchmark Brent fell 0.47% to $40.26 a barrel, with daily high of $41.00 a barrel. The price of OPEC basket of 13 crudes stood at $36.19 a barrel on Wednesday, compared with $36.67 a barrel on Tuesday.

The U.S. dollar index was 0.28% lower, and the greenback lost 0.26% to the euro, added 0.25% against the Japanese yen, lost 0.41% to the Swiss franc and dropped as much as 0.84% against the U.K. sterling at 10:17 p.m. CET (4:17 a.m. EST). Gold rose 0.50% to $1,219.87 per troy ounce.


Image: Beta/AP

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