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Early Wall Street rally fizzles as stocks end lower

20 January 2018

The S&P energy index fell 0.16 per cent as oil slipped towards $US69 a barrel on a reported rise in USA fuel stocks.

Volume on USA exchanges was 7.40 billion shares, compared to the 6.31 billion average over the last 20 trading days.

"Economic data continues to accelerate both domestically and globally and that is certainly among the key drivers in the market", Hogan said.

The S&P energy index fell 0.3 percent as oil prices pulled back from recent highs, with Brent crude dipping 1.07 percent to $69.51 per barrel. The S&P 500 index has closed lower only one other day this year.

Wall Street shares may end up in the red by close of play, say commentators, due to the potential for a U.S. government shut-down.

After the tax package was enacted in December, some companies wasted no time in announcing pay raises and rosy earnings - including automaker Fiat Chrysler, commercial banking giant Wells Fargo and global retailer Wal-Mart. (BAC) reported a profit for the fourth-quarter of 2017 that declined about 50 percent from past year, hurt by a charge of $2.9 billion or $0.27 per share, related to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.

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"You've got a bullish start to the earnings season and earnings are expected to be strong for 2018", said Adam Sarhan, CEO of 50 Park Investments.

Shares of Acorda Therapeutics Inc.

Back home, the Australian share market closed lower yesterday: The S&P/ASX 200 Index closed 33 points down to finish at 6,016.

Shares of Square Inc. Health care stocks were among the gainers.

On the commodity market, the oil prices rose before USA industry data on crude oil reserves, which is expected to show a ninth consecutive weekly decline.

Mortgage applications continue to rise in the U.S., increasing 4.1 per cent as of last week after jumping 8.3 per cent in the previous period.

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Travel retailer Hudson Ltd. (HUD.V) set the terms for its planned initial public offering on Friday (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/travel-retailer-hudson-sets-ipo-terms-to-offer-349-million-shares-at-19-to-21-a-pop-2018-01-19), saying it will offer 34.9 million shares priced at $19 to $21 each.

At 10 a.m., Eastern consumer sentiment for January is slated for release.

Bank of America Corp. USA crude fell 0.53% to $63.96 per barrel and Brent was last at $69.43, down 1.18% on the day.

General Electric fell 2.9 percent after raising the prospect of breaking itself up and announcing more than $11 billion in charges from its long-term care insurance portfolio and new USA tax laws.

Wage gains haven't risen as quickly as the stock market, but companies will eventually need to begin boosting salaries, and that will have some impact on earnings, he said.

Germany's DAX gained 0.1 percent and France's CAC 40 fell 0.1 percent.

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Early Wall Street rally fizzles as stocks end lower