Wall Street rally falters as oil prices skid

WASHINGTON (REUTERS) - A two-day rally by United States stocks faltered on Thursday (June 30) as oil prices fell sharply and investors shifted their focus from Brexit to broader economic factors.

The three major indexes have recouped more than half of the losses suffered after a shock vote by Britain to leave the European Union. In a two-day panic selloff after the vote, global markets lost about US$3 trillion (S$4.8 trillion) in value.

Oil prices fell about 2 per cent, snapping a two-day rally, as investors booked profits amid resumption of supply from Nigeria.

"The focus now shifts to reality and the performance of the global economy, which is not all that promising," said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at First Standard Financial in New York. Mr Cardillo also noted that some traders would make adjustments to their portfolios as the quarter ends.

At 10.01am ET (10pm Singapore time), the Dow Jones industrial average was up 34.11 points, or 0.19 per cent, at 17,728.79, the S&P 500 was up 1.09 points, or 0.05 per cent, at 2,071.86 and the Nasdaq Composite was up 1.69 points, or 0.04 per cent, at 4,780.94.

The three indexes had risen more than 1.5 percent in the past two days.

Data showed the number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits rose last week to 268,000, but remained below a level associated with a healthy labor market.

The weekly data is a precursor to the more comprehensive monthly payrolls report due next week, which is expected to feed into the US Federal Reserve's decision on interest rate hikes this year.

Traders have priced in only a 13.4 per cent chance of a hike as late as December, according to CME Group's FedWatch tool.

Eight of the 10 major S&P indexes were higher, with the industrials index's 0.52 per cent rise leading the gainers.