Stocks Edge Lower on Declines in Energy Shares

By Akane Otani and Riva Gold Features Dow Jones Newswires

Falling energy shares pressured the S&P 500, which snapped a three-session winning streak on Tuesday.

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Major stock indexes have risen the past few weeks as stronger-than-expected corporate earnings have helped offset a steep decline in commodity prices.

With the bulk of the S&P 500 having reported earnings, companies have largely beat analysts' expectations for the first quarter, according to FactSet.

"There is a strong economic backdrop and robust earnings: That environment is conducive to being invested [in stocks]," said Mouhammed Choukeir, chief investment officer at Kleinwort Hambros.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 36.50 points, or 0.2%, to 20975.78 on Tuesday. The S&P 500 fell 2.46 points, or 0.1%, to 2396.92 and the Nasdaq Composite gained 17.93 points, or 0.3%, to 6120.59, posting its 30th record close of the year.

Major indexes have had few large swings in recent weeks. Some analysts attribute the relative calm in markets to data pointing to health in the U.S. economy, which they say should keep stocks climbing.

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The CBOE Volatility Index, a measure of expected turbulence in the S&P 500 over the next 30 days, closed Monday at its lowest level since 1993 and edged up slightly Tuesday.

"We've waded through a lot of economic and political concerns over the last year and now investors are catching their breath," said Brent Schutte, chief investment strategist at Northwestern Mutual Wealth Management.

U.S. crude for June delivery fell 1.2% to $45.88 a barrel on Tuesday, its second lowest settlement of the year. Energy stocks in the S&P 500 -- the worst-performing sector in the broad index in 2017 -- fell 0.9%, deepening their losses for the year.

Consumer-discretionary shares in the S&P 500 rose 0.5% and were among the biggest gainers in the broad index. Marriott International shares jumped $6.13, or 6.4%, to $102.50, Class A shares of Under Armour added 86 cents, or 4.2%, to 21.39 and Hanesbrands rose 86 cents, or 4%, to 22.49.

As stocks rose, government bonds slipped, with the yield on the 10-year U.S. Treasury note rising to 2.405% from 2.376% Monday. Yields rise as bond prices fall.

Elsewhere, the Stoxx Europe 600 added 0.4%, settling at its highest level since August 2015.

Australia's S&P ASX 200 fell 0.5% as underwhelming results from Commonwealth Bank of Australia and reports that the Australian government would introduce a bank tax weighed on shares of lenders.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index rose 1.3%, supported by a recovery in shares of gambling companies.

Japan's Nikkei Stock Average pulled back 0.3% after government data showed Japanese wages fell for the first time since last May.

Write to Akane Otani at akane.otani@wsj.com and Riva Gold at riva.gold@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

May 09, 2017 17:01 ET (21:01 GMT)