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Wall Street fluctuates as equities track oil prices | Reuters

U.S. stock indexes fluctuated on Thursday as equities tracked oil prices.

Oil pared earlier gains but remained steady after jumping 7 percent on Wednesday as the dollar weakened after weak U.S. data and comments from a Fed policymaker signaled that further rate hikes could be delayed.

The dollar index which measures the greenback against a basket of six major currencies, hit 96.25, its lowest level in more than three months.

"In the short term, we really need to see a decent payroll number tomorrow and for earnings season to conclude with no major surprises," said Bill Merz, investment strategist at U.S. Bank Wealth Management.

The keenly awaited monthly employment data is scheduled for release on Friday.

"More importantly, investors need to start feeling as though oil is stabilizing or at least nearing a bottom before the volatility in the market can subside."

Wall Street opened lower after data showed that weekly jobless claims rose more than expected and nonfarm productivity fell in the fourth quarter at its fastest pace in more than a year.

New orders for U.S. factory goods also fell in December by the most in a year.

Chances of future interest rate increases this year are steadily fading.

Fed policymaker William Dudley said in an interview on Wednesday that monetary conditions had tightened since the Fed raised rates and that rate-setters would have to take this into account.

The federal fund futures market indicates traders no longer expect a Fed hike this year.

At 11:23 a.m. ET (1623 GMT), the Dow Jones industrial average was up 45.37 points, or 0.28 percent, at 16,382.03, the S&P 500 was down 0.05 points, or -0 percent, at 1,912.48 and the Nasdaq Composite index was down 5.84 points, or 0.13 percent, at 4,498.40.

Six of the 10 major S&P sectors were lower, with the consumer staples index's 0.98 percent loss leading the decliners.

Stocks globally have had a rough start to 2016, hurt by tepid U.S. growth, falling oil prices and concern that the world faces a China-led slowdown. The S&P 500 has fallen 6.4 percent this year.

UBS cut its year-end target for the S&P 500 index to 2,175 points from 2,275 on Thursday and trimmed its earnings estimate for S&P 500 companies to $119 from $126 on weaker U.S. growth prospects.

Fourth-quarter S&P 500 earnings are expected to have fallen 4.2 percent from a year earlier, according to Thomson Reuters data.

GoPro slumped 13.5 percent to $9.26 after the company forecast current-quarter revenue below analysts' estimates.

Ralph Lauren was down 16.4 percent at $96.31 after the retailer reported a decline in sales.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners on the NYSE by 2,009 to 918. On the Nasdaq, 1,748 issues rose and 852 fell.

The S&P 500 index showed 7 new 52-week highs and 8 new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 11 new highs and 48 new lows.

(Reporting by Tanya Agrawal; Editing by Don Sebastian)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date: Feb 05, 2016 00:00 AM

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