Stocks Ended Lower as Oil Slumped

U.S. stocks ended lower on Wednesday as crude futures suffered their worst percentage decline in a month. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 79.98 points, or 0.45% to 17,502.59. The S&P 500 dropped 13.09 points, or 0.64%, to 2,036.71. The Nasdaq Composite gave up 52.80 points, or 1.10%, to 4,768.86.

Oil prices were down about 3 percent on Wednesday after U.S crude stockpiles soared to record highs for a sixth straight week. U.S. crude futures were down $1.31, or 3 percent, at $40.14 a barrel. Brent crude futures were off $1.05, or 2.5 percent, at $40.74.

New U.S. single-family home sales rebounded modestly in February as a surge in the West offset sharp declines in other regions, pointing to a gradually improving housing sector amid a dearth of properties available on the market. The Commerce Department said on Wednesday home sales rose 2.0 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 512,000 units.

District regulators approved a $6.8 billion merger between Pepco Holdings and Exelon on Wednesday, creating the largest publicly-held utility in the country.






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