Phil Flynn
About The Author

Phil Flynn

Phil Flynn is writer of The Energy Report, a daily market commentary discussing oil, the Middle East, American government, economics, and their effects on the world's energies markets, as well as other commodity markets. Contact Mr. Flynn at (888) 264-5665

[Zacks via NASDAQ]

Benchmarks closed mostly in the red on Wednesday, dragged down primarily by energy shares after oil prices declined to a two-week low on Wednesday. Meanwhile, International Business Machines Corporation came out with weaker than expected first quarter results, which ultimately dragged down the Dow.

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) declined 0.6% to close at 20,404.49. The S&P 500 fell 0.2% to close at 2,338.17. The tech-laden Nasdaq Composite Index closed at 5,863.03, gaining 0.2%. The fear-gauge CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) gained 3.5% to 14.93. A total of around 3.5 billion shares were traded in NYSE on Wednesday. Decliners outpaced advancing stocks on the NYSE. For 51% stocks that declined, 44% advanced.

Oil Prices Hit 2-Week Low

The unanticipated increase in gasoline inventories along with rise in U.S. production had an adverse impact on oil prices. WTI crude prices fell by $1.97, or 3.9%, to $50.44 a barrel after the release of the Federal Reserve’s Beige Book. As per Phil Flynn, senior market analyst at Price Futures Group, there was “generally nothing in the Beige Book that would stop the Fed from raising rates in June, so the dollar rallied and added to oil’s expiration lows”.

As per the U.S. Energy Information Administration, (EIA) U.S. crude stocks dropped 1 million barrels for the week ending April 14, 2017. Additionally, as per EIA, U.S. production increased to 9.252 million barrels a day, the highest since August 2015. Gasoline stocks recorded a counter-seasonal build of 1.5 million barrels. Crude oil imports averaged over 7.9 million barrels per day over the last four weeks, 2% above the similar period last year.

The fall in oil prices had a negative impact on energy shares which emerged as the worst performing sector of S&P 500.The Energy Select Sector SPDR (XLE) declined 1.5%. Some of its key holding, including Halliburton Co  HAL  and Chevron Corporation  CVX declined by 2.3% and 1.4% respectively. You can see  the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here .

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