Stocks Ended Lower as Oil Slump Intensified

U.S. stocks ended lower on Wednesday as oil prices dropped sharply following a rise in U.S. crude inventories. The Dow Jones Industrial Average declined 117.11 points, or 0.66%, to 17,603.87. The S&P 500 fell 15.00 points, or 0.72%, to 2,063.36. The Nasdaq Composite declined 42.09 points, or 0.82%, to 5,065.85.

Oil futures ended sharply lower Wednesday, coming under renewed pressure after Saudi Arabia vowed it would be ready to meet any increase in global oil demand and U.S. crude inventories showed an unexpected rise. On the New York Mercantile Exchange, light, sweet crude futures for delivery in February dropped $1.27, or 3.4%, to settle at $36.60 a barrel.

Fewer people signed contracts to purchase homes in November, as the real estate market appears to have cooled after sales gains for much of 2015. The National Association of Realtors said Wednesday that its seasonally adjusted pending home sales index fell 0.9 percent to 106.9 last month.

Icahn’s investing vehicle Icahn Enterprises LP (IEP) has agreed to buy the Philadelphia-based auto-parts chain (PBY) in an all-cash deal valued at $1.03 billion, or $18.50 a share.

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