Wall Street ends mixed on financials, retreating oil

2008-07-15 23:29:24 GMT       2008-07-16 07:29:24 (Beijing Time)       Xinhua English

NEW YORK, July 15 (Xinhua) -- Wall Street pared early losses and ended mixed Tuesday as worries of increasing instability in the financial sector offset the effect of a sharp retreat in oil prices.

U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke told the Congress on Tuesday that "numerous difficulties," such as strains in financial markets, a shaky job market and ongoing weakness in the housing market, represent "significant downside risks" to economic growth. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson also said the Bush administration has no immediate plans to lend money to the mortgage giants or buy their stock.

Major indexes tumbled more than 2 percent in early trading as concerns about financial shares weighed on stocks. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac continued to drop. In addition, Oppenheimer's analyst Meredith Whitney predicted bank share will keep falling. Wachovia Corp. slumped as well.

The stocks rebounded as oil retreated from its near-record high. Light, sweet crude plummeted 6.44 U.S. dollars to settle at 138.74dollars a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange Tuesday, marking the third big sell-off in just over a week as investors concerned that a slowing economy will curtail demand.

In corporate news, the world's biggest chipmaker Intel Corp posted a higher quarterly profit from the higher sales of the microprocessors used in laptops.

The U.S. Labor Department reported that core inflation at the wholesale level, which excludes energy and food, ticked up by just0.2 percent. But overall wholesale prices jumped by a larger-than-expected 1.8 percent.

The Dow Jones fell 92.65 to 10,962.54. Broader indexes ended mixed. The Standard & Poor's 500 index fell 13.39 to 1,214.91, while the Nasdaq rose 2.84 to 2,215.71.

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