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US STOCKS-Wall St retreats with energy after recent gains, Yellen
November 4, 2015 / 8:34 PM / 2 years ago

US STOCKS-Wall St retreats with energy after recent gains, Yellen

* Oct private sector jobs growth better than forecast

* Time Warner falls after weak forecast; drags media stocks

* Energy stocks end 5-day run of gains

* Indexes down: Dow 0.3 pct, S&P 0.4 pct, Nasdaq 0.2 pct (Updates to include late afternoon)

By Caroline Valetkevitch

Nov 4 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks edged lower on Wednesday, pulling back after recent strong gains along with energy shares, while Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said a rate hike in December was a “live” possibility, but not a certainty.

S&P energy, down 1.4 percent, led the day’s decline.

The fall snapped a run of five straight days of gains for the index. Chevron was down 1.5 percent at $96.64 and Exxon was off 1.1 percent at $85.91.

Stocks added to losses after Yellen’s comments, which analysts said suggest that Fed officials are leaning towards raising rates in December. While stocks rallied after last week’s statement by the Fed, which gave a vote of confidence in the economy by signalling a December interest rate hike was still on the table, higher rates can add to worries about borrowing costs.

Still, S&P utilities, which tend to fall in a higher-interest rate environment, were up 0.3 percent, the day’s best-performing sector.

“You had some strong performance the last few days from the energy sector and that’s backing off a bit today,” said Peter Tuz, president, Chase Investment Counsel in Charlottesville, Virginia.

At 3:17 p.m., the Dow Jones industrial average fell 50.4 points, or 0.28 percent, to 17,867.75, the S&P 500 lost 8.34 points, or 0.4 percent, to 2,101.45 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 7.11 points, or 0.14 percent, to 5,138.02.

A raft of data on Wednesday suggested the economy was strong enough to support ending an era of near-zero interest rates.

The ADP National Employment Report showed the private sector added more jobs than expected last month. The report comes ahead of the crucial nonfarm payrolls data on Friday.

Among other decliners, Time Warner fell 6.4 percent to $72.30 after the company said ratings for its “key” domestic entertainment networks have dropped more than anticipated.

Other media stocks such as Disney, Viacom and Discovery fell as Time Warner’s comments rekindled fears of “cord cutting.”

Disney, down 3.2 percent, weighed the most on the Dow and the S&P.

U.S. health insurers also slid, led by declines in UnitedHealth, down 2.7 percent at $114.48.

Groupon slumped nearly 26.7 percent to $2.96 after it forecast weak fourth-quarter and 2016 revenue.

Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by 1,893 to 1,145, for a 1.65-to-1 ratio on the downside; on the Nasdaq, 1,451 issues fell and 1,299 advanced for a 1.12-to-1 ratio favoring decliners.

The S&P 500 posted 16 new 52-week highs and no new lows; the Nasdaq recorded 68 new highs and 36 new lows. (Additional reporting by Abhiram Nandakumar in Bengaluru; Editing by Savio D‘Souza and Frances Kerry)

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