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Stocks Dip in US as Oil Retreats, French Election Jitters Weigh

12:45 PM, Apr 21, 2017 — The main US markets were trading mostly lower on Friday afternoon as concerns about the outcome of the weekend’s presidential election in France weighed and oil prices dropped.

Sunday’s election is widely seen as too close to call, with four candidates leading. The result could have an impact on France’s future role with the European Union, less than a year after the UK’s vote to leave the bloc.

On the Standard & Poor’s 500, eight of the 11 sectors weakened, with a 1.1% drop in telecommunication services leading as Verizon (VZ) fell 1.7%. The firm is slashing prices and offering more data to stem an unprecedented wave of customer losses. But General Electric (GE) fell the most on the Dow Jones Industrial Average, retreating 2.1% after reporting earnings that beat Wall Street estimates, although revenue dipped year-on-year.

The S&P’s energy sector fell 0.5% as West Texas Intermediate lost 2.3% to trade below $50 a barrel while Brent shed 2.1% to $51.88. Schlumberger (SLB) shed 2.9% as the oilfield services giant reported quarterly adjusted earnings that meet Street expectations, but revenue was below the outlook. Halliburton (HAL), which releases results Monday, fell 1.3% and Baker Hughes (BHI), which releases results Tuesday, shed 2.5%.

Mattel (MAT) dropped 11% after the toymaker reported financial results for the first quarter, with a wider-than-expected loss and revenue that fell short of analysts’ expectations. Honeywell (HON) increased 2.5% after reporting better-than-expected earnings and revenue and as it raised the lower end of its 2017 earnings guidance range in line with Street estimates.

In afternoon trading, the S&P 500 fell 0.2% while the Dow and the Nasdaq lost 0.1%.

Globally, the Nikkei 225 advanced 1%, the Shanghai Composite was little changed, the Hang Seng dipped 0.1% and the FTSE 100 also edged down 0.1%.

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