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Market off as oil jumps above $100

Source:Reuters.com Author:Caroline Valetkevitc Date:03/25/14 Click:

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Stocks fell on Tuesday as crude oil prices rose to a record above $100 a barrel, erasing an earlier rally on concern that higher energy costs could fan inflation and crimp consumer spending and profits.

The broader market turned negative after oil touched a record $100.10 during the session on supply concerns prompted by expectations that OPEC will keep production tight. But the declines in the Dow and the S&P 500 were tempered by energy shares' gains.

Fears of a looming price war among the nation's largest cellphone operators surfaced after three top cellphone operators offered competing unlimited calling plans for $99.99 a month. Verizon Communications Inc (VZ.N) shares fell 6.6 percent.

News that Credit Suisse (CSGN.VX) wrote off $2.85 billion after finding pricing errors on its books further clouded the profit outlook for banks, pulling financial shares lower.

Stronger-than-expected earnings from Wal-Mart Stores Inc (WMT.N) and a slight improvement in how home builders see their industry provided support for shares during the session.

"The big move in oil is having a definite psychological impact," said Chip Hanlon, president of Delta Global Advisors, Inc., in Huntington Beach, California.

The Dow Jones industrial average (.DJI) slipped 10.99 points, or 0.09 percent, to end at 12,337.22. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index (.SPX) dipped 1.21 points, or 0.09 percent, to 1,348.78. The Nasdaq Composite Index (.IXIC) dropped 15.60 points, or 0.67 percent, to close at 2,306.20.

After the closing bell, shares of Dow component Hewlett-Packard Co (HPQ.N) rose 5 percent to $46.10 in extended trade. In results released after the close, the computer and printer maker reported quarterly revenue that beat Wall Street's estimates. HP also forecast quarterly results that exceeded analysts' targets.

SORRY, WRONG NUMBER

Verizon, which led the Dow's major decliners, ended at $35.34, down 6.6 percent. Its bigger rival, AT&T Inc (T.N), which followed with a similar plan along with Deutsche Telekom (DTEGn.DE), sank 5.3 percent to $35.89.

Shares of Exxon Mobil Corp (XOM.N), which led the advancers in both the Dow and the S&P 500, rose 1.9 percent to $87.01. U.S. crude oil futures for March delivery shot up $4.51, or 4.7 percent, to settle at a record $100.01 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Earlier, the NYMEX March crude contract touched a record high of $100.10 during the regular NYMEX session.

Wal-Mart shares added 0.4 percent to $49.66 on the New York Stock Exchange.

Wal-Mart, the world's biggest retailer, reported quarterly results that topped analysts' expectations as cost-conscious consumers shopped for discounted goods.

Home builders' stocks also climbed, with the Dow Jones U.S. Home Construction Index (.DJUSHB) gaining 1.1 percent.

In the financial sector, shares of JPMorgan Chase & Co (JPM.N) fell 1 percent to $42.83.

GOOGLE AND YAHOO SLIDE

On the Nasdaq, leading Internet search company Google Inc. (GOOG.O) fell 3.9 percent to $508.95, while software maker Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O) declined 0.5 percent to $28.17.

The New York Times reported Microsoft will authorize a proxy fight at Yahoo Inc (YHOO.O) to press ahead with its takeover battle for the Google rival. Yahoo shares fell 2.2 percent to $29.01.

Trading was below average on the New York Stock Exchange, with about 1.43 billion shares changing hands compared with last year's estimated daily average of roughly 1.9 billion, while on Nasdaq, about 2.01 billion shares traded, just below last year's daily average of 2.17 billion.

Advancing stocks outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a ratio of 17 to 13 while on the Nasdaq, decliners beat advancers by about 15 to 14.

(Additional reporting by Kristina Cooke; Editing by Jan Paschal)

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