Energy, mining stocks lead an early decline on Wall Street


Stocks are moving lower, led by declines in energy and mining companies as prices for oil and other commodities fall.

Trading volumes have been light this week. Mining company Freeport-McMoRan sank 7 percent. The sector is down 23.8 percent for the year.

With two trading days left in 2015, the S&P 500 is on track for a gain of about 1% for the year as of Tuesday's close.

Writing in an article published in the German business daily Handelsblatt on Wednesday, Lagarde said that growth will be "disappointing and patchy", due in part to the impact of low oil prices on petroleum-producing countries and the effects of the Federal Reserve's plan to raise interest rates further after a liftoff on December 16. "You throw in exceedingly low volume and it's a recipe for skewing the market, in this case to the downside".

Chevron fell 1.8 percent, the most in the Dow Jones industrial average. The S&P 500 fell 0.3% and the Nasdaq Composite lost 0.4%.

The Dow lost 23.90 points, or 0.1 percent, to 17,528.27.

The day's market action cut into the S&P 500's slim gain for the year. The index's 2015 advance is on track to be its smallest since 2011, when it ended little changed.

US crude-oil prices declined 3.4% to $36.59 a barrel as Saudi Arabia reiterated its commitment to keeping oil production high and data showed an increase in USA crude supplies. It's down 39 percent this year.

Benchmark U.S. crude shed $1.29, or 3.4 percent, to close at $36.81 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Consol Energy shed 46 cents, or 5.6 percent, to $7.78. The Dow is down 0.6% in the year to date, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite is up 7.9%. Natural gas slumped 15.6 cents to $2.214 per 1,000 cubic feet.

Weight Watchers International vaulted 19 percent after announcing an advertising campaign featuring Oprah Winfrey, who owns a 10 percent stake in the company.

Australia's S&P/ASX 200 stock index rose 1% in its ninth straight session of gains and Japan's Nikkei Stock Average edged up 0.3%, gaining for a third consecutive session. Many European markets will be open only for a half day on December 31.

In other markets, the euro slipped 0.2% against the dollar to $1.0908.

Precious and industrial metals prices ended mixed. Gold slipped $7.60 to $1,068.30 an ounce, silver dropped 50 cents to $13.88 an ounce and copper fell five cents to $2.08 a pound.

Bond prices rose. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 2.24 percent.