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Wall St. falls as oil prices tumble to seven-month lows

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U.S. stocks fell in late morning trading on Tuesday, slipping from record levels, as a sharp drop in oil prices squeezed energy stocks and a rebound in tech stocks petered out.

Oil prices nosedived to seven-month lows after news of increases in supply by several key producers, a trend that has undermined attempts by OPEC and other producers to support the market through reduced output. [O/R]

Oil majors Chevron (CVX.N) and Exxon (XOM.N) were down about 1.5 percent and were among the biggest drags on the Dow and S&P.

The S&P energy sector's .SPNY 2.2 percent fall led the decliners, putting the sector on track for its biggest one-day percentage loss since early March.

Both oil benchmarks - U.S. crude and Brent - are down more than 15 percent since late May, raising concerns that prices could fall further in the near-term.

"Oil prices are now approaching bear market territory and that, psychologically, has a big impact on Wall Street," said Adam Sarhan, chief executive officer at 50 Park Investments in Florida.

"If oil prices collapse, the message the oil market is sending is that demand is drying up and global economic growth is waning."

At 11:04 a.m. ET (1504 GMT), the Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI was down 3.8 points, or 0.02 percent, at 21,525.19, the S&P 500 .SPX was down 6.96 points, or 0.28 percent, at 2,446.5.

The Nasdaq Composite .IXIC was down 10.57 points, or 0.17 percent, at 6,228.45.

A recovery in technology stocks also appeared to have lost momentum, adding to the overall weakness.

"Investors are hunting for value and while the 'buy-the-dip' crowd showed up when tech stocks fell, we are seeing a mini-rotation among sectors where underperforming sectors such as healthcare and biotech stocks are being snapped up right now," said Sarhan.

The S&P technology sector .SPLRCT was down 0.3 percent. It had posted two straight weeks of losses on concerns regarding valuation and a move into defensive sectors in a rising interest rate environment.

On Tuesday, Boston Fed President Eric Rosengren said that the era of low interest rates in the United States and elsewhere poses financial stability risks and that central bankers must factor such concerns into their decision-making.

Among stocks, Lennar (LEN.N) rose 4.2 percent to $54.91 after the No. 2 U.S. homebuilder reported a higher-than-expected quarterly profit. D.R. Horton (DHI.N) was up 2.3 percent, while Pultegroup (PHM.N) rose 1.9 percent.

Chipotle (CMG.N) fell 6.7 percent to $428.58 after the burrito chain said its operating costs in the second quarter will be slightly higher than the first quarter.

Declining issues outnumbered advancers on the NYSE by 2,015 to 766. On the Nasdaq, 1,685 issues fell and 973 advanced.

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Muslim Global: Wall St. falls as oil prices tumble to seven-month lows
Wall St. falls as oil prices tumble to seven-month lows
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