October 2, 2014 / 3:18 PM / 4 years ago

US STOCKS-Wall St retreats for a fourth session, dragged by energy

NEW YORK, Oct 2 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks were lower in late morning trading on Thursday, putting the S&P 500 on track for a fourth session of losses, as energy shares dropped with oil prices.

Stocks extended Wednesday’s sharp decline even after a positive reading on the labor market.

The S&P energy index was down 1.5 percent and was in negative territory for the year. Among the most active names, Halliburton Co shares were down 3.6 percent.

On Wednesday, indexes posted declines of more than 1 percent after a patient was diagnosed with Ebola in the United States, sparking a broad decline that hit airlines and transportation stocks especially hard.

“A lot of people got freaked out yesterday, and it is natural to have a selloff, but I don’t see any reason for why we’d continue to fall,” said James Altucher, managing director at Formula Capital in New York. “In the long run, anyone holding the market now will win big.”

Investors were continuing to watch small-caps after the Russell 2000 index on Wednesday closed down more than 10 percent from its record, putting it in correction territory. The Russell 2000 was down just 0.2 percent on Thursday.

The Dow Jones industrial average was falling 58.67 points, or 0.35 percent, to 16,746.04, the S&P 500 was losing 9.15 points, or 0.47 percent, to 1,937.01 and the Nasdaq Composite was dropping 26.82 points, or 0.61 percent, to 4,395.26.

The largest percentage gainer on the New York Stock Exchange was RealD, which was rising 26.44 percent, while the largest percentage decliner was Exco Resources, down 18.11 percent.

Declining issues were outnumbering advancing ones on the NYSE by 1,872 to 1,011, for a 1.85-to-1 ratio on the downside; on the Nasdaq, 1,355 issues were falling and 1,145 advancing for a 1.18-to-1 ratio favoring decliners.

The benchmark S&P 500 index was posting 3 new 52-week highs and 23 new lows; the Nasdaq Composite was recording 10 new highs and 104 new lows. (Additional reporting by Ryan Vlastelica; Editing by Bernadette Baum and Nick Zieminski)

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