US STOCKS-Tech lifts Nasdaq; energy curbs Dow, S&P gains

* Fed officials more divided on inflation outlook -minutes

* Oil slumps about 4 percent on rising OPEC exports

* O’Reilly’s weak sales drag down auto parts retailers

* Dow down 0.01 pct, S&P 500 up 0.15 pct, Nasdaq up 0.67 pct
(Updates to market close)

By Chuck Mikolajczak

NEW YORK, July 5 (Reuters) – A steep drop in oil prices
dragged energy shares lower and kept the Dow and S&P 500 in
check on Wednesday, while the Nasdaq was buoyed by gains in tech
stocks.

Crude prices settled about 4 percent lower,
ending their longest bull run in more than five years, hurt by a
stronger dollar and concerns about rising OPEC exports.

“The U.S. is the swing producer and the major capitalist
producer as well,” said Tim Ghriskey, chief investment officer
of Solaris Asset Management in New York.

“So the government can’t dictate to the domestic industry
whether to pump or not pump – they are going to keep pumping as
long as it is profitable for them.”

Shares of Exxon and Chevron fell by more
than 1.5 percent and were among the biggest drags on the Dow and
S&P. The S&P energy index lost 2 percent and was the
worst performing out of the 11 major S&P sectors.

Recent tepid economic data and an inflation rate below the
Federal Reserve’s 2 percent target may have a bearing on the
U.S. central bank’s plans for interest rate hikes.

New orders for U.S.-made goods fell more than expected in
May, data showed on Wednesday, but capital equipment orders were
slightly stronger than previously reported, suggesting
manufacturing remains on a path of moderate growth.

Fed policymakers were increasingly split on the outlook for
inflation and how it will affect the future pace of rate
increases, according to minutes of the Fed’s latest policy
meeting on June 13-14.

The minutes revealed a few officials viewed equity prices as
high when compared to standard valuation measures, even though
earnings growth had been robust.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 1.1 points, or
0.01 percent, to close at 21,478.17, the S&P 500 gained
3.53 points, or 0.15 percent, to 2,432.54 and the Nasdaq
Composite added 40.80 points, or 0.67 percent, to
6,150.86.

The tech sector’s 1 percent rise led the S&P 500
gainers, with Advanced Micro Devices, Micron and
Nvidia among the best performers in the sector. The
PHLX semiconductor index jumped 2.1 percent.

Technology shares have been volatile in recent weeks as the
sector’s strong run this year raised concerns about their
valuation.

The tech sector index is up nearly 17 percent this year.

O’Reilly Automotive plunged 18.9 percent to a near
three-year low after its second-quarter same-store sales widely
missed its own estimates.

That move dragged down other auto-parts retailers, with
Autozone down 9.6 percent and Advance Auto Parts
down 11.15 percent.

Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by a
1.60-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.29-to-1 ratio favored decliners.

About 6.52 billion shares changed hands in U.S. exchanges,
below the 7.19 billion daily average over the last 20 sessions.
(Reporting by Chuck Mikolajczak; Editing by James Dalgleish)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.