Wall Street inches lower, Europe shares sink on growth fears

Tue Feb 9, 2016 4:55pm EST
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By Sam Forgione

NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. stocks recovered from early losses to end slightly lower on Tuesday while European shares plunged for a second straight day on fears of slowing global growth, with particular concern over the health of the banking sector.

The benchmark U.S. S&P 500 .SPX erased most losses after falling as much as 1 percent, with gains in health care and materials shares offsetting declines in energy stocks. Shares of U.S. banks stumbled before paring losses, with the S&P financial index .SPSY ending just 0.16 percent lower.

The S&P energy index .SPNY closed down 2.47 percent and stood out as the day's weakest sector after Brent crude settled 7.8 percent lower on the day. The volatile session came after all three major U.S. indexes lost more than 1 percent on Monday.

The European banking index ended 4 percent lower after sinking 5.6 percent on Monday on fears of worsening bank profitability and capital strength from sustained low interest rates.

"There may be some hope there that (Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen) is going to say something to buoy the markets," said Peter Jankovskis, co-­chief investment officer at OakBrook Investments LLC in Lisle, Illinois.

Yellen will address Congress on Wednesday.

MSCI's all-country world equity index, which tracks shares in 45 nations, was last down 2.38 points or 0.66 percent, at 358.43.

The Dow Jones industrial average .DJI ended down 12.67 points, or 0.08 percent, at 16,014.38. The S&P 500 .SPX closed down 1.23 points, or 0.07 percent, at 1,852.21. The Nasdaq Composite .IXIC ended down 14.99 points, or 0.35 percent, at 4,268.76.   Continued...

Traders work at their desks in front of the German share price index, DAX board, at the stock exchange in Frankfurt, Germany, February 9, 2016.     REUTERS/Staff/Remote