Wall Street edges up buoyed by energy; Facebook slide continues

Indexes inch up but Facebook keeps sinking Oracle tumbles

United States stocks advanced modestly on Tuesday (March 20) as higher oil prices lifted the energy sector, but another slump in Facebook shares curbed gains.

On Monday, the Nasdaq Composite index.IXIC and the S&P500 technology index.SPLRCT both fell more than 2 percent intheir steepest one-day declines since February 8.

Oil prices rose more 2 percent to their highest level so far this month, lifted by tension in the Middle East and the possibility of further falls in Venezuelan output. The social media giant took a big hit on Monday, closing with a 6.8% loss, following news that a firm tied to President Donald Trump's 2016 election campaign gathered data from millions of Facebook profiles without authorization.

The stock sank nearly 7 percent on Monday, sparking a market-wide sell-off, after a whistleblower said a political consultancy hired by Donald Trump improperly accessed information on 50 million Facebook users to sway public opinion. The Global X Social Media ETF lost 1.2 per cent. "That is the real reason we are going down and sellers basically just wanted a reason to latch onto and the latest headlines that came out were the flawless opportunity", said Mohannad Aama, Managing Director, Beam Capital Management LLC in NY.

Facebook was the biggest drag on both the Nasdaq and S&P 500 while the Dow, which does not include the social media company, had the largest gain of the three major Wall Street indexes.

By 8:36 a.m. ET, Nasdaq 100 e-minis NQc1 were down 4.75points, Dow e-minis 1YMc1 fell 13 points, and S&P 500 e-minis ESc1 were fractionally higher.

Oracle dropped 9.4 per cent after the business software maker reported lower-than-expected quarterly revenue.

The US Federal Reserve's two day monetary policy meet, which begins later today has created some uneasiness, as investors are expecting the central bank to adopt a more aggressive path to normalizing monetary policy and lifting borrowing costs.

Traders now expect two more rate hikes later thisyear, although they said policymakers could set a hawkish toneby forecasting four increases in their "dot plot" projections.



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