Dow Poised for Second Day of Losses

By Riva Gold Features Dow Jones Newswires

U.S. stock indexes steadied Wednesday as oil prices inched higher.

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The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 11 points, or less than 0.1%, to 21479 shortly after the opening bell. The S&P 500 rose 0.1% and the Nasdaq Composite added 0.3%.

Major indexes wobbled Tuesday after oil prices slid to their lowest level since September, dragging down shares of energy companies and renewing concerns among some analysts of a more severe pullback in commodity prices.

Still, many investors and analysts say they remain cautiously optimistic on the outlook for the U.S. stock market. Strong earnings should keep supporting stock indexes, even if oil prices continue to wobble, said Patrick Spencer, vice chairman of equities at Robert W. Baird & Co.

"Positive earnings revisions and a weaker dollar are quite a powerful springboard for the U.S.," Mr. Spencer said.

U.S. crude oil was last up 0.1% at $43.52 a barrel, reversing the morning's declines after returning to bear-market territory Tuesday. Energy shares in the S&P 500, the worst-performing sector in the broad index in 2017, fell 0.4%, deepening their declines for the year.

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Government bonds edged lower, with the yield on the 10-year U.S. Treasury note rising to 2.170%, according to Tradeweb, from 2.153% Tuesday. Yields rise as bond prices fall.

Elsewhere, the Stoxx Europe 600 slipped 0.2% but moved off its worst levels of the day when falling oil prices had added to doubts about inflation and sent government bond yields lower. Banks and insurance companies were the worst performers in Europe.

"Oil, which can be a big inflation contributor, is down around 20% year to date," said Nancy Curtin, chief investment officer at Close Brothers Asset Management. "Despite improvements in the growth picture, there seems to be very little inflation," she said.

Stocks across the Asia-Pacific region mostly fell amid losses in energy companies and banks, with the Nikkei Stock Average dropping 0.5% and Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index falling 0.6%.

Mainland China markets inched higher, however, after MSCI Inc. said it would include China A-shares in its emerging-markets index, meaning funds that track it will automatically allocate money into China. The Shanghai Composite Index added 0.5%.

"For global investors, while the inclusion will not trigger an immediate and wholesale change in their asset allocation, it will put Chinese equities on the map," Aidan Yao, economist at AXA Investment Managers, said in a note.

--Akane Otani contributed to this article.

Write to Riva Gold at riva.gold@wsj.com

The Dow Jones Industrial Average headed toward its second day of losses Wednesday as oil prices resumed their slide, pulling energy shares lower.

Major indexes have wobbled since oil slumped to its lowest level since September on Tuesday, renewing concerns among analysts that there could be a more severe pullback in commodity prices.

The S&P 500 energy sector, the worst-performing group in the broad index this year, has fallen more than any other sector so far this week.

Still, many investors and analysts say they remain cautiously optimistic on the outlook for the U.S. stock market. Strong earnings should keep supporting stock indexes, even if oil prices continue to wobble, said Patrick Spencer, vice chairman of equities at Robert W. Baird & Co.

"Positive earnings revisions and a weaker dollar are quite a powerful springboard for the U.S.," Mr. Spencer said.

The Dow industrials fell 55 points, or 0.3%, to 21411. The S&P 500 lost 0.2% and the Nasdaq Composite added 0.5%, boosted by gains in the shares of health-care companies.

U.S. crude oil fluctuated between gains and losses in choppy trading, and was recently down 2.9% at $42.24 a barrel after returning to bear-market territory Tuesday. Energy shares in the S&P 500 fell 1.8%, deepening their declines for the year.

Shares of health-care companies in the S&P 500 rose 1%, with Regeneron Pharmaceuticals -- the second-biggest gainer in the S&P 500 on Tuesday -- posting among the biggest advances Wednesday.

Government bonds edged lower, with the yield on the 10-year U.S. Treasury note rising to 2.156%, according to Tradeweb, from 2.153% Tuesday. Yields rise as bond prices fall.

Elsewhere, the Stoxx Europe 600 slipped 0.2%, but closed off its worst levels of the day.

Stocks across the Asia-Pacific region mostly fell amid losses in energy companies and banks, with the Nikkei Stock Average dropping 0.5% and Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index falling 0.6%.

Mainland China markets inched higher, however, after MSCI Inc. said it would include China A-shares in its emerging-markets index, meaning funds that track it will automatically allocate money into China. The Shanghai Composite Index added 0.5%.

"For global investors, while the inclusion will not trigger an immediate and wholesale change in their asset allocation, it will put Chinese equities on the map," Aidan Yao, economist at AXA Investment Managers, said in a note.

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

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

June 21, 2017 14:01 ET (18:01 GMT)