NEW YORK, Jan 25: US stocks suffered big losses Monday, as a renewed decline in oil prices weighed on Wall Street ahead of the Federal Reserve's monetary policy meeting.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 208.29 points, or 1.29 per cent, to 15,885.22. The S&P 500 dropped 29.82 points, or 1.56 per cent, to 1,877.08. The Nasdaq Composite Index shed 72.69 points, or 1.58 per cent, to 4,518.49.
With no major economic data due out Monday, oil prices were still in focus, which had witnessed wild swings recently. Oil prices tumbled over 5 per cent on profit taking Monday after Friday's surge, as Iraq announced record-high oil production.
The West Texas Intermediate for March delivery moved down 1.85 U.S. dollars to settle at 30.34 dollars a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, while Brent crude for March delivery decreased 1.68 dollars to close at 30.5 dollars a barrel on the London ICE Futures Exchange. Oil prices skyrocketed last week for about 10 per cent on the hope that stimulus from Eurozone and frigid weather across the United States will lift the demand.
As it will take years to wash out the whole supply in oil market and reach the balance point where supply meets demand, many analysts do not expect oil prices would recovery soon.
Investors also kept a close eye on the U.S. central bank, which will start its two-day meeting on Tuesday and will release a statement after the conclusion Wednesday. Analysts expect that the Fed will not to take any rate action at this meeting amid oil weakness.
In corporate news, shares of McDonald's rose 0.68 per cent to 119.20 dollars apiece on Monday, after the fast-food chain delivered better-than-expected earnings for the fourth quarter of 2015.
Latest data from Thomson Reuters showed that the S&P 500 companies' blended earnings in the fourth quarter of 2015 are expected to decrease 4.5 per cent year on year, while the revenue is forecast to decline 3.6 per cent.
Overseas, European equities ended lower amid falling oil prices on Monday, with British benchmark FTSE 100 Index decreasing 0.39 per cent.
In Asia, Chinese benchmark Shanghai Composite Index gained 0.75 per cent to close at 2,938.51 points, while Japanese benchmark 225-issue Nikkei Stock Average added 0.90 per cent to end at 17,110.91 points. ?Agencies