Stocks, Commodities Fall Further as Investors Dial Back on Risk

By Riva Gold and Amrith RamkumarFeaturesDow Jones Newswires

U.S. stocks extend recent declines

-- Crude futures, industrial metals drop

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-- Dollar, bond yields lower

The S&P 500 posted its biggest drop since early September as investors dialed back on riskier assets.

The index shed 0.6%, a relatively modest decline, but the S&P had managed to avoid a loss of 0.5% or more for 50 straight sessions. The last time the index went that long without a daily fall of that magnitude was 1965, according to the WSJ Market Data Group.

Investors have enjoyed a broad run-up in markets around the world this year that has sent major stock indexes to records and prices of oil and raw materials to multiyear highs. Declines are natural after such a strong rally and the peak of earnings season, some investors and analysts said.

"We're just due for some kind of a slowdown," said Bob Phillips, managing principal at Spectrum Management Group. "I don't think there's anything in the cards that suggests this is going to turn into a major pullback."

The Dow industrials fell 138.19 points, or 0.6%, to 23271.28 and the S&P 500 declined 14.25 points to 2564.62. Both indexes have fallen in four of the past five sessions and notched their biggest losses since Sept. 5 on Wednesday. The Nasdaq Composite shed 31.66 points, or 0.5%, to 6706.21.

Although falling commodity prices and doubts about a tax overhaul have weighed on major indexes recently, Steven Chiavarone, assistant vice president and portfolio manager at Federated Investors, said the earnings and economic backdrop for stocks is still favorable moving forward.

"It's hard for us not to continue to be in buy-the-dip mode here," he said.

Stocks have tended to rebound quickly from declines this year, with many investors taking pullbacks as an opportunity to buy into a market that has risen steadily.

U.S. crude fell 0.7% to $55.33 a barrel, extending this week's losses, after data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration showed an unexpected increase in crude-oil stockpiles.

The S&P 500 energy sector declined 1.2%.

Prices of copper and other industrial metals also continued to fall after data earlier this week showed Chinese industrial output and fixed-asset investment growth slowed in October. China is the world's largest metals consumer.

Treasury yields held on to declines after data showed U.S. consumer prices rose only slightly in October, a sign that stubbornly soft inflation is persisting.

The yield on the 10-year U.S. Treasury note fell to 2.335% from 2.381% Tuesday. Yields fall as bond prices rise.

Shares of Target fell $5.93, or 9.9%, to $54.16 after the discount retailer posted higher quarterly sales but said profit fell and gave a disappointing earnings outlook for the holiday period. Competitor Wal-Mart Stores is scheduled to report before the market opens Thursday.

Elsewhere, the Stoxx Europe 600 notched a seventh straight day of losses, dropping 0.5% Wednesday to its lowest level in almost two months. European earnings have lagged behind other regions this quarter, which analysts largely attribute to this year's strength in the euro.

Japan's Nikkei Stock Average shed 1.6% in its biggest daily fall since March. Hong Kong's Hang Seng declined 1%.

Write to Riva Gold at and Amrith Ramkumar at

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

November 15, 2017 18:57 ET (23:57 GMT)