NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. markets fell slightly despite gains in markets around the world as falling oil and gas prices dragged energy companies lower.
The twelve biggest decliners in the Standard & Poor’s 500 index Monday were energy companies, led by an 8 percent drop for Southwestern Energy and a 7 percent decline for Chesapeake Energy.
Starwood Hotels soared after a consortium led by China’s Anbang Insurance Group offered to buy the chain for $14 billion.
The Dow Jones industrial average fell 31 points, or 0.2 percent, to 17,181 as of 9:35 a.m. Eastern time.
The S&P 500 fell 4 points, or 0.2 percent, to 2,017. The Nasdaq composite fell 12 points, or 0.3 percent, to 4,736.
Bond prices rose. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 1.96 percent.
European and Asian stocks extended gains Monday on expectations that central bankers meeting this week will keep intact policies supporting equity markets in some of the world’s biggest economies.
KEEPING SCORE: In Europe, Germany’s DAX rose 1.5 percent to 9,980.29 and France’s CAC 40 added 0.6 percent to 4,517.68. Britain’s FTSE 100 rose 0.5 percent to 6,169.54. U.S. stocks were poised to open lower, taking a breather after ending last week with a rally. Dow futures slipped 0.1 percent while the broader S&P 500 futures lost 0.2 percent.
CENTRAL BANKS: Investors are awaiting more central bank meetings after the European Central Bank followed through last week on its promise to provide more stimulus. The Fed wraps up a two-day meeting on Wednesday and while investors think there’s little chance of a rate hike, they’ll be watching to see whether policymakers are leaning toward such a move at their next major meeting in June. The Bank of Japan and the Bank of England are also due to meet this week though analysts don’t expect any major policy changes. Australia’s central bank is set to release meeting minutes on Tuesday, which will provide further insight.
ANALYST VIEWPOINT: “In recent weeks we have seen some encouraging data for the U.S. economy that are likely to have bolstered the Fed’s confidence,” said Jane Foley, strategist at Rabobank. “At the same time, not all the doves are convinced and they would like to see more evidence of inflation moving back toward the 2 percent target. This suggests that we should not expect a Fed rate hike this week, but we may see a consensus forming by the June meeting.”
INDUSTRY GAINS: Market sentiment was supported by a 2.1 percent gain in eurozone industrial production in January, the biggest monthly rise since 2009. The figure suggests the weaker euro has been helping the region, though economists think manufacturing is likely to soften in coming months due to the slowdown in the global economy.
In Japan, private sector machinery orders jumped 15 percent in January over a year earlier, the biggest such increase since comparable data became available starting in April 2005. Machinery orders are seen as a leading indicator, so some analysts say they expect capital spending to recover this year.
BEIJING BOOST: Chinese shares rose after the chief of the China Securities Regulatory Commission told a press conference over the weekend that it’s too early to talk about winding back official support measures for the markets, according to the official Xinhua news agency. That suggests support for Chinese equities, which have gyrated since a meltdown last summer, will remain in place for a while longer.
ASIA’S DAY: Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 index rose 1.7 percent to close at 17,233.75 while South Korea’s Kospi was nearly flat at 1,972.27. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng added 1.2 percent to 20,435.34 and the Shanghai Composite Index in mainland China gained 1.8 percent to 2,859.50. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 finished 0.4 percent higher at 5,242.40. Shares in Taiwan and Southeast Asia also rose.
ENERGY: U.S. benchmark crude fell $1.03 to $37.47 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract added 66 cents on Friday. Brent crude, which is used to price international oils, lost $1.01 to $39.38 a barrel.
CURRENCIES: The dollar dipped to 113.72 yen from 113.81 yen while the euro weakened to $1.1102 from $1.1157.
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