Oil prices hit new 2016 high as US STOCKS-Futures slightly changed

U.S Markets opened lower as investors analyzed earnings reports and data showing stagnating consumer spending with inflation remaining unchanged for the month of March.

According to the Commerce Department, Personal consumption expenditures price index, excluding the volatile food and energy components, increased 0.1% March after an upward-revised increase of 0.2% in February.

Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at First Standard Financial in New York, said, “I think we are looking at a cautious trading day as the weak earnings season finally catches up, though oil could help smoothen some of the declines.”

1Q earnings from S&P 500 components are expected to have dropped 6.1% from 2014, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S. Out of the 273 companies that have reported quarter earnings, 57% reported revenue above analyst forecasts as opposed to the long-term average of 60%.

At 9:38 a.m. ET (1338 GMT) the Dow Jones industrial average .DJI was down 52.53 points, or 0.29% at 17,778.23. The S&P 500 .SPX was down 3.91 points, or 0.19% at 2,071.9. The Nasdaq Composite .IXIC was down 0.50 points, or 0.01% at 4,804.79.

The S&P 500 health index’s .SPXHC 0.85% decline led the fall in the sector where only three components were up. Gilead Sciences (GILD.O) dropped 5.4% to $91.64 after reporting an 18% decline in 1Q net profit.

Energy Sector

Crude oil hit new highs earlier in the day and was set for its largest monthly gain almost a decade as a result of a weak dollar and falling U.S. production.

The dollar index .DXY was down 0.4% at $93.38, its lowest level since August.

The Japanese Yen was at its 18-month high indicating a bigger risk aversion among investors just a day after the (BOJ) decided not to take monetary action. Meanwhile, stocks around the globe were in the red.

Major Stocks

Chevron (CVX.N) was down 0.7% at $101.78, while Exxon (XOM.N) was up 1.8% at $89.60, after reporting quarter earnings results.

Amazon (AMZN.O) jumped 11% to $663.85 after the company’s quarterly results exceeded analyst’s expectations.

LinkedIn (LNKD.N) was up 5.6% at $130 after the Company for professionals’ profiles increased its 2016 revenue and profit outlook.

TiVo (TIVO.O) climbed 6.2% to $10 after digital entertainment guide provider Rovi (ROVI.O) agreed to buy the company in a deal valued at about $1.1 billion. Rovi was up 10.3% at $19.09.

Declining issues beat advancing ones on the NYSE by 1,317 to 1,279. On the Nasdaq, 1,188 issues declined, and 958 advanced.

The S&P 500 index showed 1 new 52-week high and 2 new low. The Nasdaq Composite recorded 12 new highs and 9 new lows.

Nick Jason

[email protected]

Nick Jason is a Senior Market Commentator and Analyst

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