Wall St. slips after Japan, China data; energy drags

December 8
10:19 AM 2014

U.S. stocks dipped on Monday, after soft data in China and Japan raised global growth concerns, while a further drop in oil prices weighed on energy shares.

Data showed China's exports grew at a slower-than-expected pace and imports dropped 6.7 percent in November, while Japan's economy shrank more than expected in the third quarter.

The data put a damper on recent enthusiasm over the U.S. economy, after a strong payrolls report on Friday sent the S&P 500 to its 49th record close of the year. The benchmark S&P index has risen for seven weeks, its longest stretch in nearly a year, and is up more than 11 percent from an October low.

"Considering the economic news that came from abroad the markets are really not under severe pressure," said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Rockwell Global Capital in New York.

"While the weakness in the global economy is quite noticeable, in general what we are seeing here is a slower pace of increments as we close out the year. Investors are taking a slightly less aggressive attitude as we approach year-end."

Energy was by far the worst performing S&P sector, down 1.5 percent, as Brent crude fell to a five-year low on predictions oversupply would keep building until next year. The index is down more than 10 percent for the year, making it the only one of the 10 major S&P sectors in negative territory for the year. 

In response to the falling oil prices, ConocoPhillips said its capital budget for 2015 would drop 20 percent to $13.5 billion. Conoco shares lost 1.7 percent to $66.71.

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 21.73 points, or 0.12 percent, to 17,937.06, the S&P 500 lost 2.24 points, or 0.11 percent, to 2,073.13 and the Nasdaq Composite added 5.64 points, or 0.12 percent, to 4,786.40.

Merck & Co Inc said it would buy Cubist Pharmaceuticals Inc for $8.4 billion plus the assumption of debt. Merck shares were slipped 0.3 percent to $61.28 while Cubist shares surged 35.5 percent to $100.79.

McDonald's shares lost 3.2 percent to $93.23 as the biggest drag on the Dow Industrials after the fast-food restaurant chain reported a steeper-than-expected fall in global same-restaurant sales in November and said fourth quarter results would be hurt by a supplier scandal in China and a stronger dollar.

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