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Energy companies drag US stocks lower as oil prices plunge

Energy companies drag US stocks lower as oil prices plunge

NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stocks started slightly lower Tuesday morning as the price of oil tumbled almost 4 percent. That took energy companies sharply lower. Health care companies climbed after a strong outlook from UnitedHealth Group. Tiffany jumped after it reported better quarterly results than analysts expected.

KEEPING SCORE: The Dow Jones industrial average dipped 22 points, or 0.1 percent, to 19,075 as of 10 a.m. Eastern time. The Standard & Poor's 500 index gave up 3 points, or 0.1 percent, to 2,198. The Nasdaq composite fell 7 points, or 0.1 percent, to 5,362.

OIL: OPEC nations meet Wednesday to try to finalize a deal that would reduce oil production. Saudi Arabia's representatives have sounded skeptical about the prospects of a deal. Iran, meanwhile, is hesitant to limit its own output as it ramps up production following years of international sanctions.

Benchmark U.S. crude fell $1.88, or 4 percent, to $45.20 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, tumbled $1.97, or 4 percent, to $47.24 a barrel in London.

Among energy stocks, Exxon Mobil lost 96 cents, or 1.1 percent, to $85.51 and Anadarko Petroleum slid $2.10, or 3.4 percent, to $59.90.

HEALTHY FEELING: UnitedHealth, the largest U.S. health insurer, backed its forecast for this year and said it expects its earnings to grow in 2017. That's because of stable medical costs, less exposure to Affordable Care Act health care exchanges, and growth for Optum, a business that manages pharmacy benefits, runs clinics and doctors' offices and provides technology services. UnitedHealth climbed $4.38, or 2.9 percent, to $156.49.

PUT A RING ON IT: Luxury jeweler Tiffany traded higher after the company reported stronger sales in Asia, which countered weaker results from the U.S. and Europe. Its stock gained $6.09, or 7.8 percent, to $84.23.

WATCH THIS: TiVo and Netflix both traded higher after the companies said they expanded a partnership. As part of the deal, TiVo will continue to integrate the Netflix streaming video service into set-top boxes. Those boxes will be available through more retailers and pay-TV providers than before. Meanwhile Netflix will license TiVo's patents. TiVo picked up 45 cents, or 2.2 percent, to $21.20 and Netflix added $1.44, or 1.2 percent, to $118.37.

DRIVE OFF THE LOT: Thor Industries, which makes Airstream and other recreational vehicles, surged after it reported a much stronger profit and better sales than analysts expected. Its stock added $9.49, or 10.5 percent, to $99.93.

CURRENCIES: The dollar rose to 112.93 yen from 112.26 yen. The euro remained at $1.0597.

BONDS: Bond prices declined. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 2.34 percent from 2.31 percent.

OVERSEAS: London's FTSE 100 index shed 0.8 percent while France's CAC 40 advanced 0.6 percent and Germany's DAX was little changed. The Nikkei 225 in Japan fell 0.3 percent and the Hang Seng of Hong Kong dipped 0.4 percent. South Korea's Kospi inched up less than 0.1 percent.

Updated : 2021-10-21 11:21 GMT+08:00