Stocks Opened Lower as Oil Slide Weighed

U.S. stocks opened lower on Monday as declines in U.S. crude oil weighed and an official survey showed China’s factory sector contracted for the sixth month. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lately fell 138.71 points, or 0.84%, to 16,327.59. The S&P 500 shed 15.83 points, or 0.82%, to 1,924.41. The Nasdaq Composite was down 37.82 points, or 0.82%, to 4,576.14.

U.S. consumers kept their spending flat in December and instead boosted their savings rate to the highest level in three years. Consumer spending was unchanged in December after rising 0.5 percent in November, the Commerce Department reported Monday. Incomes increased 0.3 percent, matching November’s gain.

Oil fell nearly four percent on Monday. Brent April crude futures were down $1.12, or 3.1 percent, at $34.87 a barrel at 7.43 a.m. ET. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) was down $1.32, or 3.9 percent, at $32.30 a barrel.

China’s statistics bureau reported Monday that the official manufacturing purchasing managers index fell to 49.4 in January from 49.7 in December–the sixth consecutive month of contraction. Chinese leaders are set to lower the 2016 growth target for the country to 6.5%-7% when they meet for the National People’s Congress in early March.

Energy transportation company Dominion Resources Inc. D, -1.33% said Monday it has agreed to buy natural-gas company Questar Corp. STR,  in an all- cash deal valued at $4.4 billion. Dominion will pay Questar shareholders $25 a share in cash, or a 30% premium over the average stock price of Questar’s last 20 trading days ended Jan. 29, and assume its debt.

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