Photo: Getty Images/AFP
Photo: Getty Images/AFP

US stocks pull back as oil prices drop

Standard & Poor's 500 and Nasdaq composite drops 0.4%

New York: US stocks are pulling back in afternoon trading Tuesday as energy companies sink along with the price of crude oil. Murphy Oil plunged 12% and oil rig operator Transocean lost 8%. Traders were also discouraged by weak trade figures from China.

The Dow Jones industrial average slipped six points, or less than 0.1%, to 17,067 as of 2:09 p.m. Eastern time. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index fell eight points, or 0.4%, to 1,994. The Nasdaq composite gave up 17 points, or 0.4%, to 4,691.

“We’re overbought," said Chief Investment Officer Bill Stone of PNC Asset Management Group, noting that the S&P 500 is up about 10% from mid-February. “People are taking some profits off of the larger run-up from the low."

Hamburger chain Shake Shack plunged $4.09, or 10%, to $38.14 after delivering quarterly results and an outlook that disappointed investors.

Dick’s Sporting Goods fell 67 cents, or 1.5%, to $45.01. Its fourth-quarter results fell short of analysts’ expectations as a warmer-than-usual winter crimped the retailer’s sales. Its forecast also disappointed investors.

Urban Outfitters jumped $4.56, or 16%, to $32.72. Late Monday, the retailer reported strong earnings and improved margins during the holiday season. The Philadelphia-based company said it earned $72.9 million, or 61 cents per share, in its fourth quarter ended Jan. 31, better than analysts expected.

Benchmark US crude fell $1.08, or 2.9%, to $36.82 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It jumped $1.98 on Monday. Brent crude, which is used to price international oils, fell $1, or 2.4%, to $39.84 a barrel.

China’s exports plunged 25% in February from a year earlier, as weak global demand and a business shutdown during the Lunar New Year holiday combined to depress sales. Customs data Tuesday also showed imports fell 14%.

France’s CAC 40, Germany’s DAX and Britain’s FTSE 100 each fell 0.9%.

Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 dropped 0.8% and South Korea’s Kospi lost 0.6%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index shed 0.7%.

The euro fell to $1.1001, down from $1.1013. The dollar edged down to 112.77 yen from 113.27 yen.

Bond prices rose. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 1.83% from 1.91% late Monday.

Prices for industrial and precious metals ended broadly lower. Gold slipped $1.10 to $1,262.90 an ounce, silver fell 24 cents to $15.39 an ounce and copper lost six cents to $2.22 a pound.