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S&P 500 Down for Day Two as Energy Slides


Stocks were lower Wednesday afternoon for their second day in a row after a steeper-than-expected climb in crude stockpiles pulled the energy sector into a selloff.

The S&P 500 was down 0.7%, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.5%, and the Nasdaq slid 0.81%. The Nasdaq was down for the ninth time in ten sessions, while the S&P 500 and Dow were down for the fourth time in five.

Crude prices pared gains after a weekly read on U.S. stockpiles showed a greater-than-expected increase of 2.8 million barrels. Analysts expected the Energy Information Administration data to have shown 1.2 million barrels added to stocks last week. West Texas Intermediate crude oil fell 0.8% to $43.26 a barrel. Crude had climbed more than 1% to top $44 a barrel earlier in the session.

The energy sector was one of the worst performers on Wednesday. Major oilers such as Total (TOT) , Royal Dutch Shell (RDS.A) , BP (BP) , Chevron (CVX) , and ConocoPhillips (COP) were all lower, while the Energy Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLE) slid 1.5%.

Factory orders climbed 1.1% in March to $458.4 billion thanks to an increase in new orders, according to the Department of Commerce. Economists had expected an increase of 0.6% after a 1.9% decline in February. Shipments and inventories also increased after eight months of declines in a row. The manufacturing sector has suffered from a stronger U.S. dollar and a weaker global economy, both of which have deterred demand for U.S.-made products.

The services sector of the U.S. economy had a better April than expected with the ISM Non-Manufacturing Index climbing to a reading of 55.7. The increase was driven by strong gains in the new orders and employment components. Analysts had expected a reading of 54.7.

"With all eyes on the transition from a very weak first quarter to the second quarter, this print helps to lean against a...