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US stocks end mixed as Obamacare repeal bill gets vote in House of Representatives

Wall Street shares finished mixed as US crude prices slumped

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US crude prices fell to a five month low
  • US shares close mixed

  • US crude falls 5%

  • Dow Jones down 6.43

  • Obamacare repeal bill gets House vote

US shares ended mixed as Donald Trump won his first legislative victory - as the House of Representatives voted to repeal major parts of Obamacare.

That bill now moves to the US Senate where it may get a much tougher ride.

Trump reportedly said it was a 'wonderful vote'.

Tomorrow, will see the publication of April's job creation number in the US

City Index in London is forecasting a 181,000 gain in US non-farm payrolls,  which is a touch below economist estimates from Bloomberg, who are predicting a gain of 190,000.

March saw a huge miss, where only 98,000 jobs were created, due to a number of factors, including a government hiring freeze.

The Dow Jones closed 6.43 down at 20.951, the S&P500 finished up 1.39 at 2,389 and the Nasdaq closed 2.79 higher at 6,075.

In Toronto, the TSX index finished 146 down at 15,396.

MID-SESSION

Wall Street shares are seeing red in afternoon trade while the TSX in Toronto is down 1430 points  as US crude tumbled and economic data disappointed.

The Dow Jones is down 22 at 20,935 and the S&P500 is almost flat but down a tad at 2,388.

The tech heavy Nasdaq index is down 1.13 at 6,071. In Canada the TSX is down over 14o points at 15,403.

The results of a US productivity report reflect a first-quarter slowdown in the American economy.

It grew at the slowest pace in three years but the job market remained solid, something which may be underlined again tomorrow in the non-farm payroll stats for April.

US crude - West Texas Intermediate (WTI) is down almost 5% at the time of writing at $45.44 a barrel - a five month low.

It comes as US weekly production rose yet stockpiles fell less than expected, according to official data. Libya's expected recovery in production is adding to the price pressure.

Chesapeake Energy (NYSE:CHK) is being hit hard, with shares down 7.76% to $5.11, making it the biggest faller on S&P500.

OPEN...

US shares started mixed after futures had pointed to a higher open, and after economic data put a big dent in positive sentiment.

Productivity in the US fell at a 0.6% annual pace in the first three months of 2017, official government stats showed.

This is the fastest rate in a year, and reflects a fall back in the number of goods and service, which were available to customers.

 

The  benchmark Dow was down 17 points, the NASDAQ however was up around half a point, at 6,073. The broader S&P500 added 0.84 at 2,389. 

Energy giant Chesapeake Inc (NYSE:CHK) saw shares slide despite it swinging to a profit from a loss in the first quarter and beating expectations.

The group was aided by the rise in crude prices to report a net profit of $75mln,  or 8 cents per share, compared with a loss of $1.11bn in the same period a year earlier.

Earlier, in pre-market shares were higher, but then fell over 7% lower, at $5.13.

In terms of production, the group's  output fell 21.3% to 48 million barrels of oil equivalent, while revenue was up 41% to $2.75 billion in the quarter.

 

PREVIEW...

US stocks are expected to stage a strong rebound after a mixed finish on Wednesday as traders eye a key jobs report on Friday and President Trump's idea to replace Obamacare comes back into focus.

Social media giant Facebook (NASDAQ:FB.) came into focus last night as it posted quarterly results, which topped analyst expectations sales of $8bn, which were boosted by advertising sales on mobile devices.

The firm is also approaching the milestone 2bn user base.

Despite that, shares in pre-market are down 0.64% to $150.83.

On Wednesday, the Dow Jones finished up over 8 at 20,957. The NASDAQ is down 22 at 6,072, while the S&P500 shed over 3 to stand at 2,288.

In futures today, Dow futures are trading 56 points higher, the S&P500 is over six points ahead and the Nasdaq is up almost 20 points.

In Washington today there will be a vote on a bill to repeal and replace Obamacare - the health package introduced by the previous occupant of the White House.

If there is an approval, it would be a big celebration for Trump who made it a big plank of his campaign.

Ahead of the non-farms job creation number on Friday and the Fed keeping rates on hold this week, on the earnings front several US energy companies are reporting - Apache (NYSE: APA) and Chesapeake Energy (NYSE: CHK) to name but two - they are scheduled to report ahead of the bell.

Crude prices are under pressure at the moment due to increased output in the US and optimism over a production cut strategy has waned.

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