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Stock Market News for April 05, 2016

Benchmarks closed in the red following decline in oil prices which curbed gains in healthcare stocks. Oil prices fell following Saudi Arabia’s deputy crown prince’s discouraging comments and increase in Iran’s crude exports. Plunge in oil prices dragged down key indexes, whereas record fall in copper prices had a negative impact on materials stocks.

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The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) decreased 0.3%, to close at 17,737.00. The S&P 500 also fell 0.3% to close at 2,066.13. The tech-laden Nasdaq Composite Index closed at 4,891.80, losing 0.5%. The fear-gauge CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) increased 7.8% to settle at 14.12. A total of around 6.4 billion shares were traded on Monday, lower than the last 20-session average of 7.6 billion shares. Decliners outpaced advancing stocks on the NYSE. For 71% stocks that declined, 26% advanced.

Oil prices continued to fall and hit its lowest level in a month yesterday following Saudi Arabia’s deputy crown prince Mohammed bin Salman’s discouraging comments. Prince Salman said Saudi Arabia will agree to production freeze only if Iran agrees to do the same. On Sunday, Iran’s oil minister Bijan Zanganeh said the country’s crude exports increased by 250,000 barrels per day (bpd) in March.

Jump in Iran’s crude exports and prince Salman’s comments raised worries over the possibility of a production control agreement between OPEC and non-OPEC members in a meeting to be held in Doha this month. Both the WTI crude and Brent crude declined, by 3.1% and 2.6% to $35.70 per barrel and $37.69 a barrel.

Additionally, copper prices slumped following worries over a fall in Chinese demand and sooner-than-expected Fed rate hike chances due to encouraging job reports. Copper prices fell for the seventh consecutive trading day, its lowest level since March 3. Decline in copper prices dragged material stocks downward.

The Materials Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLB) slumped 1.3% and was the biggest decliner among the S&P 500 sectors. Key holdings such as Praxair Inc. ( PX), Freeport-McMoRan Inc. (FCX), LyondellBasell Industries N.V. (LYB), E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Company (DD), Monsanto Company ( MON) and Air Products and Chemicals, Inc. (APD) decreased 0.5%, 4.8%, 0.8%, 0.2%, 0.8% and 1.8%, respectively.

Also, the Industrial Select Sector SPDR (XLI) lost 1.1% and was the second biggest loser among the S&P 500 sectors. Some of the key stocks from this sector including General Electric Company (GE), 3M Company ( MMM), Danaher Corp. (DHR) and Honeywell International Inc. (HON) decreased 2.2%, 0.7%, 2% and 0.6% respectively. Dow component Boeing Company ( BA) declined 0.5%.

Separately, shares of Edwards Lifesciences Corp. (EW) jumped 16.9% to $105.03, reaching an all-time high following successful trial results of the company’s heart surgery method. The trial reports showed that a procedure using the company’s heart valve device SAPIEN 3 was better than open heart surgery in some cases. Gains in Edwards Lifesciences had a positive impact on healthcare stocks.

The Health Care Select Sector SPDR (XLV) increased 1.2% and was the best performer among the S&P 500 sectors. Key stocks from the sector including Pfizer Inc. (PFE), Allergan plc (AGN), Merck & Co. Inc. (MRK), AbbVie Inc. (ABBV), Bristol-Myers Squibb Company (BMY) and Biogen Inc. (BIIB), advanced 2.3%, 3.5%, 1.3%, 3.1%, 1.6% and 1.3%, respectively.

In economic news, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce, new orders for manufactured goods decreased 1.7% in February, in line with the consensus estimate. This reading was followed by an increase of 1.2% in January. New orders decreased due to fall in bookings for planes and oil equipments.

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