US stocks fall early as energy, materials companies slide

AP News
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Posted: Mar 15, 2016 9:42 AM
US stocks fall early as energy, materials companies slide

NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stocks tumbled in the first minutes of trading as falling commodity prices again pulled energy and materials companies lower.

All major international markets also fell Tuesday as investors await the outcome of the U.S. Federal Reserve's monthly meeting, which concludes Wednesday.

Miner Freeport-McMoRan fell 7 percent. Drugmaker Eli Lilly is down 3 percent on concerns surrounding the potential approval of a drug designed to treat dementia caused by Alzheimer's disease.

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 104 points, or 0.6 percent, to 17,124 as of 9:35 a.m. Eastern time.

The Standard & Poor's 500 index fell 13 points, or 0.7 percent, to 2,006. The Nasdaq composite fell 27 points, or 0.6 percent, to 4,722.

Bond prices rose. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 1.93 percent.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

Global stocks and oil declined Tuesday after the Bank of Japan cut its economic forecasts and as investors awaited the conclusion of the U.S. Federal Reserve's meeting for insight into when it might raise interest rates again.

KEEPING SCORE: In Europe, Britain's FTSE 100 fell 0.7 percent to 6,134.66 and France's CAC-40 fell 0.9 percent to 4,466.65. Germany's DAX shed 0.6 percent to 9,932.97. On Wall Street, futures for the Dow Jones industrial average and Standard & Poor's 500 index both declined 0.5 percent.

WATCHING THE FED: The Federal Reserve's Federal Open Market Committee meets Tuesday and Wednesday. Investors don't expect a rate hike but are watching for indications of possible future Fed moves. In December the Fed raised interest rates for the first time in almost a decade, but it left them unchanged in January amid growing market turmoil.

ANALYST TAKE: "The most anticipated item on the U.S. economic calendar this week is the FOMC meeting, even though policy will almost certainly be left on hold. With no change in rates, the focus will be entirely on forward guidance," said Jim O'Sullivan of High-Frequency Economics in a report.

JAPAN CENTRAL BANK: The Bank of Japan left its monetary policy unchanged Tuesday but downgraded its assessment of conditions in the world's third-largest economy, citing risks from weaker growth in China and other emerging economies and volatility in financial markets, among other factors.

ASIA'S DAY: Tokyo's Nikkei 225 lost 0.7 percent to 17,117.07 and Hong Kong's Hang Seng declined 0.7 percent to 20,288.77. Sydney's S&P ASX 200 fell 1.4 percent to 5,111.40 and India's Sensex retreated 0.9 percent to 24,580.54. Seoul's Kospi was off 0.1 percent at 1,969.97 and Taiwan, Singapore, Bangkok and Jakarta also fell. The Shanghai Composite Index gained 0.2 percent to 2,864.37 and New Zealand also rose.

CURRENCY: The dollar slipped to 112.89 from 113.79 yen. The euro edged up to $1.1108 from Monday's $1.1105. The British pound was down 0.8 percent of $1.4175, amid renewed jitters about the June popular vote on whether to remain in the 28-country European Union. The pound last month fell to a 7-year low of $1.3783.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude shed 87 cents to $36.31 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell $1.32 on Monday. Brent crude, used to price international oils, lost 94 cents to $39.22 per barrel in London.