Slumping oil prices rein in stock indexes

Energy stocks dove again on Wednesday as oil dropped to its lowest price since last summer.THE STOCK EFFECT: The sliding price of oil helped yank energy stocks in the S&P 500 down by 1.6 percent, the largest loss among the 11 sectors that make up the index. Rig operator Transocean gave up 3.6 percent.The S&P 500 is up 3.88 points, or 0.2 percent.In Europe, France’s CAC 40 was up 0.3 percent at 5,326 while Germany’s DAX rose 0.2 percent to 12,917.In overseas markets, the Shanghai composite rose 0.5 percent after index provider MSCI said it will include 222 of what are called Chinese A-shares in its widely followed Emerging Markets index. The two-year yield rose to 1.36 percent from 1.35 percent, and the 30-year yield rose to 2.75 percent from 2.74 percent.Asian shares were slightly lower Tuesday, erasing initial gains, but Tokyo’s benchmark rose, cheered by gains on Wall Street led by technology shares.The British pound fell to $1.2629 from $1.2729 after the Bank of England cooled market expectations that it may soon raise interest rates.The Standard & Poor’s 500 index fell 4 points, or 0.2 percent, to 2,448. Eastern time. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 15 points, or 0.1 percent, to 21,514.SLIDING LOWER: The price of benchmark US crude fell $1.09, or 2.5 percent, to $43.33 per barrel.New York Fed head William Dudley said inflation was a bit low but should rise alongside wages as the labor market continues to improve.The 10-year Treasury yield held steady at 2.16 percent. The price of crude oil was stable after taking a plunge a day earlier.Software company Red Hat rose 8.5 percent in the first few minutes of trading Wednesday. Its stock rose $9.35, or 10.4 percent, to $99.31. Numerous sharpest declines were concentrated in the energy sector, as the price of oil touched its lowest price since mid-November.CHINA’S ARRIVAL: Chinese shares traded in Shanghai, which have always been hard for foreign investors to trade, rose 0.5 percent after index provider MSCI said it will include 222 of what are called “Chinese A-shares” in its widely followed Emerging Markets index.Natural gas rose a penny to $2.91 per 1,000 cubic feet, heating oil fell 2 cents to $1.39 per gallon and wholesale gasoline lost 3 cents to $1.42 per gallon.The Dow Jones industrial average was little changed at 21,476.On the opposite end was homebuilder Lennar, which rose $1.13, or 2.1 per cent, to $53.87 after reporting stronger revenue and earnings for the latest quarter than analysts expected.