US stocks close lower on falling oil

New York, March 24 (IANS) US stocks ended lower as a renewed decline in oil prices weighed on Wall Street.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average dipped 79.98 points, or 0.45 percent, to 17,502.59 on Wednesday, Xinhua news agency reported.

The S&P 500 lost 13.09 points, or 0.64 percent, to 2,036.71. The Nasdaq Composite Index went down 52.80 points, or 1.10 percent, to 4,768.86.

Oil prices tumbled on Wednesday after figures showed US crude stockpiles rose last week by more than expected, with US oil settling below $40 a barrel.

US crude supplies gained 9.4 million barrels to 532.5 million barrels last week, 65.9 million barrels more than one year before, according to the weekly report released by the Energy Information Administration Wednesday.

Investors were still assessing the impacts of Tuesday’s explosions in Brussels, Belgium, that left at least 34 people dead and over 200 wounded.

Chinese shares open lower

Chinese stocks opened lower on Thursday with the benchmark Shanghai Composite Index down 0.77 percent, at 2,986.8 points.

The smaller Shenzhen index opened 0.92 percent lower at 10,346.56 points, Xinhua news agency reported.

The ChiNext Index, tracking China’s NASDAQ-style board of growth enterprises, declined 1.1 percent to open at 2,234.22 points.

Chinese yuan weakens

The central parity rate of the Chinese currency renminbi, or the yuan, weakened 214 basis points to 6.515 against the US dollar on Thursday, according to the China Foreign Exchange Trading System.

In China’s spot foreign exchange market, the yuan is allowed to rise or fall by two percent from the central parity rate each trading day, Xinhua reported.

The central parity rate of the yuan against the US dollar is based on a weighted average of prices offered by market makers before the opening of the interbank market each business day.

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