US Market Indexes Lower With Losses Led by Chevron

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 21.50 points, or 0.1%, to 20,881.48.

WTI jumped above US$48 a barrel as a reported decline in U.S. crude stockpiles countered a boost in output from Saudi Arabia, reversing an earlier plunge of as much as 2.7 per cent. Brent crude is also up, above $51 a barrel.

On currency markets the pound edged up after hitting an eight-week low in NY as Britain prepares to trigger its exit from the European Union.

USA crude oil dropped more than 1% and the energy sector was the worst performing S&P 500 sector.

Traders are also digesting a slew of US economic data, including a Commerce Department report showing an uptick in retail sales in the month of February.

The S&P 500 traded in its tightest range of the year, in and out of slight losses, while the CBOE Volatility index .VIX was on track to close at its lowest in more than a week.

The Nasdaq composite rose 14.06 points, or 0.2 percent, to 5,875.78.

Oil prices settled 65 cents to $47.75 US per barrel.

The market had dipped after data emerged showing key producer Saudi Arabia increased production last month, raising questions about the OPEC cartel's reduction commitment, just as USA shale output expands. After excluding the costs of food and energy, inflation was 2.2 percent.

Shares in AT&T were up 0.51% after the European Commission approved its $85bn acquisition of Time Warner, which was up 0.17%. They said the companies don't compete in the European Economic Area.

Data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) showed U.S. crude stocks fell last week, dropping after nine consecutive increases. AT&T added 11 cents to $42.21 and Time Warner gained 11 cents to $98.47.

Hostess Brands rose 1 percent after the company gave solid forecasts for full-year revenue and earnings. The Twinkie maker filed for bankruptcy protection in 2012 and was acquired by private equity firm Gores Group in the middle of a year ago. Its stock rose 45 cents, or 2.8 percent, to $16.38. Under the terms of the deal, Intel will pay $63.54 for each Mobileye share, a 34% premium to Mobileye's closing price Friday of $47.27.

Last week, prices plummeted more than 5 percent, the biggest drop in a year, as USA crude inventories surged much more than expected to a record high. The euro slipped to $1.0629 from $1.0632, and the British pound rose to $1.2207 from $1.2145. The Labor Department said its Consumer Price Index ticked up 0.1 percent last month, after jumping 0.6 percent in January.

The dollar, meanwhile, is down 0.1 percent against the Japanese yen, at 114.63 yen. Over in Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index was up 0.32%.

The Dow is up 1,118.88 points, or 5.7 percent.

  • Zachary Reyes