US stocks dip as Lagarde warns on growth

New York (AFP) –


Wall Street stocks dipped early Wednesday as International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde warned of slow growth in 2016 and oil prices retreated.

About 30 minutes into trade, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was at 17,681.02, down 39.96 points (0.23 percent).

The broad-based S&P 500 dropped 5.61 (0.27 percent) to 2,072.75, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index fell 20.42 (0.40 percent) to 5,087.52.

Global stocks had pushed higher Tuesday, but the rally fizzled Wednesday as Lagarde cautioned that global growth would be "disappointing and patchy" in 2016.

Oil prices fell in New York on concerns that a US petroleum inventory report later in the day would be bearish. Most petroleum-linked shares were lower, with Schlumberger falling 0.7 percent and Dow member Chevron 0.5 percent.

Large banks also sank, with Bank of America, Citigroup and JPMorgan Chase all down between 0.5 percent and 0.8 percent.

Pep Boys lost 2.9 percent as Japanese tire company Bridgestone retreated from a bidding war with activist investor Carl Icahn for the company. Icahn raised his offer for the auto service and parts company to just over $1 billion on Monday.

Fairchild Semiconductor International rose 3.2 percent to $20.65 after announcing that it received an unsolicited bid of $21.70 per share from an unspecified party, challenging its merger agreement with ON Semiconductor that prices Fairchild at $20 per share.

SunEdison jumped 7.3 percent as it announced that it reached a deal with lenders to reduce its debt by $336 million in exchange for equity and interest in renewable energy assets under development.

Weight Watchers International vaulted 11.8 percent as it unveiled a new ad with Oprah Winfrey touting its programs.