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 December 8, 2015 - 6:43 PM EST
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Dow Plunges on Oil, Biotech Woes

U.S. stocks closed mostly lower Tuesday but off session lows as oil prices stabilized and biotech stocks gained. Soft China trade data and some anxiety ahead of the Federal Reserve's meeting next week also weighed.

The Dow Jones industrial average stumbled 162.51 points to 17,568, with Boeing and Goldman Sachsthe greatest weights on the index.

The Dow transports closed down 2.8% for their worst day since Aug. 24, with Southwest Airlines plunging 9% to lead all member stocks lower. The airline said its fourth-quarter operating revenue per available seat mile would be flat to negative, rather than slightly higher, compared with the same period last year.

The S&P 500 shed 13.48 points to 2,063.54, as healthcare was the only advancer in the index.

The NASDAQ index fought to within 3.57 points of breakeven to 5,098.24. Apple closed just below the flatline after falling more than 1%.

Biotech stocks bucked the overall decline to close higher.

Qualcomm closed down 5.6% after European Union anti-trust regulators charged the firm with abusing its market power to thwart rivals, putting the world's number one mobile chipset maker at risk of a hefty fine, Reuters said. The chipmaker also said the Taiwan Fair Trade Commission opened an investigation into its patent licensing deals.

Chipotle said a Boston College statement about at least 80 students falling ill after eating at Chipotle Mexican Grill appeared to be an isolated incident. Shares of Chipotle closed down 1.7%, nearly 21% lower year-to-date.

In U.S. economic news, the Job Openings and Labour Turnover Survey – JOLTS, for short -- showed 5.383 million openings in October, while the September figure was revised slightly higher to 5.534 million. The quits rate held steady from September at 1.9%.

The National Federation of Independent Business said on Tuesday itsSmall Business Optimism Index fell 1.3 points to 94.8 in November.

While the index is below its 42-year average, NFIB said the print continued to signal the economy was "plodding" along.

Overseas, Chinese trade data released overnight showed exports declined for the fifth-straight month and imports down a record 13 months. However, the decline in imports was less than expected and slowed from last month. The drop in both imports and exports add to concerns about global growth and a tepid domestic demand-driven recovery.

Reuters noted that China crude oil imports for the first 11 months of the year rose 8.7% to 6.61 million barrels per day, with November crude imports growing 7.6% from the same month a year ago. The news helped oil briefly attempt gains in early morning trade.

Prices for the 10-year Treasury gained slightly, lowering yields to 2.22% from Monday's 2.24%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.

Oil prices recovered 34 cents a barrel to $37.99 U.S.

Gold prices picked up a nickel to $1,074.91 U.S. an ounce.

Source: WallSt Money US Market Commentary (December 8, 2015 - 6:43 PM EST)

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