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Markets Right Now: Energy slump pulls stock market lower

The latest on developments in financial markets (All times local):

4 p.m.

Stocks are closing mostly lower after an up-and-down day of trading as energy companies and retailers dragged the market lower.

A steep drop in the price of oil Wednesday pulled the energy sector lower. Devon Energy slumped 3.9 per cent . Benchmark U.S. crude fell 2.9 per cent .

Home improvement retailers did poorly. Lowe's sank 4.5 per cent and Home Depot gave back 1.1 per cent .

Several big tech companies rose. Facebook climbed 1.9 per cent and Microsoft increased 1.5 per cent .

The Standard & Poor's 500 index fell a fraction of a point to 2,629.

The Dow Jones industrial average gave back 39 points, or 0.2 per cent , to 24,140. The Nasdaq composite added 14 points, or 0.2 per cent , to 6,776.

Bond prices rose. The yield on the 10-year Treasury fell to 2.32 per cent .

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11:45 a.m.

Stocks were holding steady in midday trading on Wall Street as the market stabilized following three days of losses.

The Standard & Poor's 500 index was little changed Wednesday as gains for some technology companies were offset by losses in energy and phone companies.

Facebook and Microsoft each rose 1.6 per cent , while AT&T gave back 1.2 per cent .

Discount retailer Fred's plunged 21 per cent after suspending its dividend and saying it may sell some assets.

The Standard & Poor's 500 index was up less than a point to 2,630.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 20 points, or 0.1 per cent , to 24,201. The Nasdaq composite added 8 points, or 0.1 per cent , to 6,771.

Bond prices rose. The yield on the 10-year Treasury fell to 2.33 per cent .

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9:35 a.m.

Stocks are opening slightly lower on Wall Street as banks back some of their recent gains and technology companies continued to struggle.

Apple fell 1 per cent in early trading Wednesday and JPMorgan Chase fell a little under 1 per cent .

Discount retailer Fred's plunged 21 per cent after suspending its dividend and saying it may sell some assets.

The Standard & Poor's 500 index fell 1 point to 2,628.

The Dow Jones industrial average slipped 3 points, less than 0.1 per cent , to 24,177. The Nasdaq composite was little changed at 6,769.

Bond prices rose. The yield on the 10-year Treasury fell to 2.3 per cent .

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