Petroleum-linked shares fell on lower oil prices, pressuring US stocks

News Hour:

Petroleum-linked shares fell on Wednesday on lower oil prices, pressuring US stocks, as the Federal Reserve minutes showed officials expect to hike interest rates “fairly soon.”

The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended up 0.2 percent to 20,775,60, a fresh record. The broad-based S&P 500 slipped 0.1 percent at 2,362.82, and the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index also shed 0.1 percent to 5,860.63.

All three indices finished at records on Tuesday. Fed officials said their outlook for the economy and interest rates had not changed much since December when they indicated three rate hikes were likely this year, reports BSS.

However, officials cited “heightened uncertainty” about possible US policies that could lift inflation, hastening the need for rate hikes. Analysts said the minutes contained no bombshells and continued to imply a policy of gradual rate increases in 2017.

Petroleum producers were weak, with ConocoPhillips dropping 2.2 percent, and Chevron, EOG and Apache all down more than one percent.

DuPont and Dow Chemical both jumped more than three percent on reports the European Union could as soon as March approve their proposed merger.

Garmin, which makes information devices for fitness and navigation purposes, jumped 7.3 percent after reporting a 10.2 percent increase in fourth-quarter sales to $860.8 million.

Norwegian Cruise Line gained 7.1 percent after reporting that fourth-quarter net income rose 89 percent to $72.2 million following the addition of new voyages.

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