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U.S. Stocks Pare Early Losses

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Specialist Jason Hardzewicz works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange Thursday, Dec. 4, 2014. U.S. stocks posted modest losses in early trading Thursday after European Central Bank President Mario Draghi hinted that the bank is ready to back a big monetary stimulus, but will be waiting until next year. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
(AP Photo/Richard Drew)

The following is an excerpt from LESLIE JOSEPHS and RIVA GOLD | February 3, 2016 | WSJ.com |
U.S. stocks pared earlier losses amid a surge in energy and materials companies, but weakness in financial shares muted gains.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average was near unchanged at 16157, after falling as much as 193 points earlier in the session.

The S&P 500 fell 0.6%. The energy and materials sector indexes added 1.2% and 1.5%, respectively.

Shares of financial companies, however, led the market lower for the second straight session. The financial sector index in the S&P 500 lost 1.5%.

Shares of J.P. Morgan Chase posted the heaviest losses in the Dow, falling 1.6%. Fellow Dow component Goldman Sachs Group lost 1%.

Wells Fargo shares sank 3.6% after the bank agreed to pay $1.2 billion to settle a long-running lawsuit over the company’s lending practices.

The Nasdaq Composite fell 0.9%.

Crude oil prices surged, trading 6.7% higher at $31.88.

Investors again piled into havens, including utilities, which rose 0.9%. Government debt prices rose, with the yield on the 10-year Treasury note falling to 1.805% from 1.864% on Tuesday.

Lower yields tend to curb the revenue generated by banks from their lending businesses, raising renewed concerns about their underlying financial health, traders said.

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