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Energy stocks lead an early decline on Wall Street

U.S. stocks are mostly lower in morning trading, led by energy companies as the price of oil drops. Hotel operators Starwood and Marriott are sliding after Anbang Insurance, the Chinese company that sought to buy Starwood, walked away from its offer.

KEEPING SCORE: The Dow Jones industrial average was little changed at 17,688 as of 10:20 a.m. Eastern time. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index dipped three points, or 0.2 percent, to 2,056. The Nasdaq composite index was flat at 4,869.

OIL: Energy prices dropped as investors grew pessimistic about the fate of a proposed deal for major oil-producing nations to reduce production. Benchmark U.S. crude fell $1.50, or 3.9 percent, to $36.84 per barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, dropped $1.68, or 4.2 percent, to $38.65 a barrel in London.

Chevron lost $1.67, or 1.7 percent, to $93.74 and Exxon Mobil fell $1, or 1.2 percent, to $82.59. Marathon Oil retreated 53 cents, or 4.8 percent, to $10.60.

HIRING CONTINUES: The U.S. government reported that private employers added 215,000 jobs in March, a bit more than expected. That shows employers are confident enough to add staff even though overall economic growth has slowed down. More people also looked for work and pay ticked higher.

ANBANG SAYS BYE: Just days after it offered to buy Starwood Hotels for $15 billion, a consortium led by Anbang Insurance Group ended its bid. Starwood had accepted a $14 billion offer from Marriott but said Anbang’s bid was better.

Starwood fell $3.52, or 4.2 percent, to $79.91 and Marriott lost $3.45, or 4.8 percent, to $67.73. The deal would create the biggest hotel chain in the world. Hilton shed 62 cents, or 2.8 percent, to $21.90 and Hyatt declined 81 cents, or 1.6 percent, to $48.68.

HITTING THE GAS: Tesla Motors gained $10.43, or 4.5 percent, to $240.20. The electric car company said it received 135,000 orders for Model 3, the new, lower-priced vehicle it announced on Thursday.

OUTPERFORMING: Retailer Urban Outfitters disclosed strong sales at its older stores, and the stock added $1.23, or 3.7 percent, to $34.32. Urban Outfitters is the best-performing stock on the S&P 500 index this year, as its value has surged 51 percent.

GOING SOUR: Smartphone maker Blackberry reported disappointing quarterly results, with sales that fell far short of estimates. Its stock gave up 63 cents, or 7.8 percent, to $7.46.

OVERSEAS: Stocks overseas tumbled. Germany’s DAX and the CAC-40 in France both tumbled 2.7 percent, and in Britain, the FTSE 100 lost 1.3 percent. Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 sank 3.6 percent, while South Korea’s Kospi fell 1.1 percent. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index declined 1.3 percent. Asian markets were hit by weak Japanese economic data. Japan’s big exporters have been hit by a double whammy of a slowing Chinese economy and a rising yen.

BONDS, CURRENCIES: Bond prices fell. The yield on the 10-year U.S. Treasury note rolse to 1.79 percent from 1.77 percent. The dollar fell to 112.07 yen from 112.53 yen, while the euro dipped to $1.1378 from $1.1387.


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