Energy shares sink markets

(REUTERS) - Falling oil prices have killed a strong two-day rally. Energy stocks were the day's biggest losers. ExxonMobil and Chevron crippled the Dow.

Mr Kevin Caron, strategist and portfolio manager of Washington Crossing Advisors at Stifel, said: "We just need improvement in the underlying data. We haven't seen it yet."

Tyco's shares bounced sharply higher. Johnson Controls is acquiring the fire protection and security systems maker in a deal that will save US$150 million (S$214.6 million) in taxes. Johnson Controls' stock retreated.

Investors didn't like the news that several top executives of major divisions would be leaving Twitter. Stifel downgraded the stock to "hold" from "buy". Shares fell.

All-day breakfast beefed up McDonald's quarterly sales. Profit rose at the world's largest restaurant chain. So did its shares.

Strong sales orders lifted homebuilder D.R. Horton's quarterly profit.

In Europe, the drop in oil prices and in Italian and Spanish bank shares pulled the markets lower.