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U.S. opens door to oil exports after year of pressure

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Shares slip in low-volume trading; safe-havens rise

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NEW YORK (Reuters) - Investors backed away from global equity markets on Tuesday, with light volume magnifying moves, as worries about Greece's future in the euro zone pushed shares lower and lifted...

Wall St. pulls back from record; utilities slump


NEW YORK U.S. stocks fell on Tuesday as investors engaged in profit-taking to pull major indexes from record levels, while the trend of modest moves and low volume continued heading into the final trading day of the year.

The day’s losses were broad, with each of the ten primary S&P 500 sectors in negative territory. Utilities .SPLRCU – 2014’s best sector performer – led the decline with a drop of 2.1 percent.

Equities have enjoyed a solid rally of late, buoyed by strong economic data and the U.S. Federal Reserve’s commitment to be “patient” about raising interest rates. The S&P 500 gained nearly 6 percent over the prior eight sessions and managed to score its 53rd record close of the year on Monday.

The speed and scale of the rally provided incentive to take profits, and amplified volatility is possible this week with many market participants out for the holiday, which dampens volume. The stock market will be closed on Thursday for the New Year’s holiday.

“It wasn’t going to take much to prompt the decline, it’s probably more resting than anything else. We’ve had a pretty significant move higher,” said Stephen Massocca, managing director at Wedbush Equity Management LLC in San Francisco.

“We’ve marched straight up from 1,970 or so to about 2,100 so it’s only natural that we are going to get a little bit of a pullback here.”

The Dow Jones industrial average .DJI fell 55.16 points, or 0.31 percent, to 17,983.07, the S&P 500 .SPX lost 10.22 points, or 0.49 percent, to 2,080.35 and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC dropped 29.47 points, or 0.61 percent, to 4,777.44.

In the latest economic data, consumer confidence rose slightly less than expected in December, while U.S. single-family home price appreciation slowed less than forecast in October.

NeuroDerm Ltd (NDRM.O) soared more than 193 percent to $18.14 on heavy volume after it said data from a mid-stage study suggested that a higher dose of its Parkinson’s drug could provide an alternative to treatments that require surgery.

Civeo Corp (CVEO.N), which provides temporary housing for oilfield workers and miners, late Monday slashed its workforce and forecast revenue could fall by one-third as slumping crude prices force oil producers to cut costs. The stock plunged 52.6 percent to $3.92 on volume of about 56.2 million shares, the most active day in its history.

Volume was light, with about 4.42 billion shares traded on U.S. exchanges, well below the 7.06 billion average so far this month, according to data from BATS Global Markets.

Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by 1,806 to 1,262, for a 1.43-to-1 ratio; on the Nasdaq, 1,671 issues fell and 1,031 advanced for a 1.62-to-1 ratio favoring decliners.

The benchmark S&P 500 posted 25 new 52-week highs and 6 new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 107 new highs and 39 new lows.

(Reporting by Chuck Mikolajczak; Editing by Nick Zieminski)

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NEW YORK U.S. stocks fell on Tuesday as investors engaged in profit-taking to pull major indexes from record levels, while the trend of modest moves and low volume continued heading into the final trading day of the year.

The day's losses were broad, with each of the ten primary S&P 500 sectors in negative territory. Utilities .SPLRCU - 2014's best sector performer - led the decline with a drop of 2.1 percent.

Equities have enjoyed a solid rally of late, buoyed by strong economic data and the U.S. Federal Reserve's commitment to be "patient" about raising interest rates. The S&P 500 gained nearly 6 percent over the prior eight sessions and managed to score its 53rd record close of the year on Monday.

The speed and scale of the rally provided incentive to take profits, and amplified volatility is possible this week with many market participants out for the holiday, which dampens volume. The stock market will be closed on Thursday for the New Year's holiday.

"It wasn’t going to take much to prompt the decline, it’s probably more resting than anything else. We’ve had a pretty significant move higher," said Stephen Massocca, managing director at Wedbush Equity Management LLC in San Francisco.

"We’ve marched straight up from 1,970 or so to about 2,100 so it’s only natural that we are going to get a little bit of a pullback here."

The Dow Jones industrial average .DJI fell 55.16 points, or 0.31 percent, to 17,983.07, the S&P 500 .SPX lost 10.22 points, or 0.49 percent, to 2,080.35 and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC dropped 29.47 points, or 0.61 percent, to 4,777.44.

In the latest economic data, consumer confidence rose slightly less than expected in December, while U.S. single-family home price appreciation slowed less than forecast in October.

NeuroDerm Ltd (NDRM.O) soared more than 193 percent to $18.14 on heavy volume after it said data from a mid-stage study suggested that a higher dose of its Parkinson's drug could provide an alternative to treatments that require surgery.

Civeo Corp (CVEO.N), which provides temporary housing for oilfield workers and miners, late Monday slashed its workforce and forecast revenue could fall by one-third as slumping crude prices force oil producers to cut costs. The stock plunged 52.6 percent to $3.92 on volume of about 56.2 million shares, the most active day in its history.

Volume was light, with about 4.42 billion shares traded on U.S. exchanges, well below the 7.06 billion average so far this month, according to data from BATS Global Markets.

Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by 1,806 to 1,262, for a 1.43-to-1 ratio; on the Nasdaq, 1,671 issues fell and 1,031 advanced for a 1.62-to-1 ratio favoring decliners.

The benchmark S&P 500 posted 25 new 52-week highs and 6 new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 107 new highs and 39 new lows.

(Reporting by Chuck Mikolajczak; Editing by Nick Zieminski)



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Wall St. pulls back from record; utilities slump

NEW YORK (Reuters) – U.S. stocks fell on Tuesday as investors engaged in profit-taking to pull major indexes from record levels, while the trend of modest moves and low volume continued heading into…

NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. stocks fell on Tuesday as investors engaged in profit-taking to pull major indexes from record levels, while the trend of modest moves and low volume continued heading into...

Brent and WTI see small gains as end of year approaches


NEW YORK Crude futures closed up slightly Tuesday, getting some relief from a weak dollar but not making significant strides as traders prepared for the end of the year.

The dollar is generally inversely related to the price of oil, and so a small the decline in the dollar index .DXY may have lent some strength to crude oil, according Thomas Saal, an analyst with INTL Hencorp Futures. Saal said prices may have also been boosted as traders balanced their positions before the end of the year.

The global benchmark Brent LCOc1 settled up 2 cents at $57.90. U.S. crude CLc1 settled up 51 cents at $54.12 a barrel.

Both measures hit 5-1/2-year lows yesterday before rebounding slightly.

U.S. crude was supported slightly by news that the Obama administration took two long-awaited steps that could increase the amount of processed light crude that can be shipped under the 40-year-old ban on exports of most domestic crude.

The reaction was muted because the measures were introduced during the holidays, said John Kilduff, partner at New York energy hedge fund Again Capital.

Investors were also waiting for U.S. inventory data. The American Petroleum Institute is scheduled to release data on Tuesday while the U.S. Department of Energy’s Energy Information Administration will issue data on Wednesday.

A Reuters poll forecast U.S. crude inventories would show a drop of 900,000 barrels, after a rise to their highest recorded level for December in the week ended on Dec. 19. [EIA/S]

There were expectations on Monday that the destruction of over a million barrels of oil by a fire at Libya’s main oil port could push Brent over $60, but by the end of the day prices had fallen past previous lows.

Oil prices this year are on track for the biggest decline since 2008 and the second-biggest annual fall since futures started trading in the 1980s.

(Additional reporting by Keith Wallis in Singapore and Christopher Johnson in London,; editing by Jason Neely, Louise Heavens, Jessica Resnick-Ault, Andrew Hay and Cynthia Osterman)

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NEW YORK Crude futures closed up slightly Tuesday, getting some relief from a weak dollar but not making significant strides as traders prepared for the end of the year.

The dollar is generally inversely related to the price of oil, and so a small the decline in the dollar index .DXY may have lent some strength to crude oil, according Thomas Saal, an analyst with INTL Hencorp Futures. Saal said prices may have also been boosted as traders balanced their positions before the end of the year.

The global benchmark Brent LCOc1 settled up 2 cents at $57.90. U.S. crude CLc1 settled up 51 cents at $54.12 a barrel.

Both measures hit 5-1/2-year lows yesterday before rebounding slightly.

U.S. crude was supported slightly by news that the Obama administration took two long-awaited steps that could increase the amount of processed light crude that can be shipped under the 40-year-old ban on exports of most domestic crude.

The reaction was muted because the measures were introduced during the holidays, said John Kilduff, partner at New York energy hedge fund Again Capital.

Investors were also waiting for U.S. inventory data. The American Petroleum Institute is scheduled to release data on Tuesday while the U.S. Department of Energy's Energy Information Administration will issue data on Wednesday.

A Reuters poll forecast U.S. crude inventories would show a drop of 900,000 barrels, after a rise to their highest recorded level for December in the week ended on Dec. 19. [EIA/S]

There were expectations on Monday that the destruction of over a million barrels of oil by a fire at Libya’s main oil port could push Brent over $60, but by the end of the day prices had fallen past previous lows.

Oil prices this year are on track for the biggest decline since 2008 and the second-biggest annual fall since futures started trading in the 1980s.

(Additional reporting by Keith Wallis in Singapore and Christopher Johnson in London,; editing by Jason Neely, Louise Heavens, Jessica Resnick-Ault, Andrew Hay and Cynthia Osterman)



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Brent and WTI see small gains as end of year approaches

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Crude futures closed up slightly Tuesday, getting some relief from a weak dollar but not making significant strides as traders prepared for the end of the year.

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Crude futures closed up slightly Tuesday, getting some relief from a weak dollar but not making significant strides as traders prepared for the end of the year.

Dollar slips against yen on year-end profit-taking

NEW YORK (Reuters) – The U.S. dollar hit a 1-1/2-week low against the safe-haven yen on Tuesday after traders booked profits from recent multi-year highs in the greenback and parked their winnings in…

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The U.S. dollar hit a 1-1/2-week low against the safe-haven yen on Tuesday after traders booked profits from recent multi-year highs in the greenback and parked their winnings in...

Argentina’s debt crisis seen rumbling on until 2015 election

BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) – Crunch time for Argentina fixing its debt default will almost certainly not be January, as many investors had hoped, but a year later once the country’s next president takes…

BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) - Crunch time for Argentina fixing its debt default will almost certainly not be January, as many investors had hoped, but a year later once the country's next president takes...

U.S. consumer confidence rises in December

U.S. consumer confidence increased in December, bolstered by a brightening jobs situation that left perceptions about economic conditions at a high last seen in February 2008, according to a private sector report released on Tuesday. The Conference …

U.S. consumer confidence increased in December, bolstered by a brightening jobs situation that left perceptions about economic conditions at a high last seen in February 2008, according to a private sector report released on Tuesday.

The Conference Board, an industry group, said its index of consumer attitudes rose to 92.6 from an upwardly revised 91.0 the month before. Economists expected a reading of 93.0 for December, according to a Reuters poll.

November was originally reported as 88.7.

"Consumer confidence rebounded modestly in December, propelled by a considerably more favorable assessment of current economic and labor market conditions," Lynn Franco, director of economic indicators at The Conference Board, said in a statement. "... They are more confident at year-end than they were at the beginning of the year."

The expectations index in December was 88.5 versus November's revised 89.3, and the present situation index rose to 98.6 from a revised 93.7 in November. The present situation index is now at its highest level since February 2008.

The "jobs hard to get" index was 27.7 in December, versus a revised 28.7 the month before.

(Reporting by Michael Connor in New York; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)



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