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US SMALL/MIDCAPS-Stocks decline, energy shares drag
June 6, 2011 / 8:43 PM / 6 years ago

US SMALL/MIDCAPS-Stocks decline, energy shares drag

NEW YORK, June 6 (Reuters) - Small and midcapitalization stocks fell on Monday, hitting their lowest levels in more than two months and outpacing the broader market's losses, with energy shares among the hardest hit.

Shares of companies including Frontier Oil FTO.N, which dropped 6 percent to $26.73, fell as oil prices dropped. In London, Brent crude for July delivery LCON1 settled at $114.48 a barrel, down $1.36, or 1.18 percent, its lowest settlement since May 24.

Shares of Superior Energy (SPN.N) were off 5.4 percent to $34.27 and shares of Helix Energy (HLX.N) were down 4.1 percent at $15.71.

A bleaker economic outlook also weighed on stocks, as recent data has suggested the U.S. economic recovery is struggling to keep momentum.

"Earnings expectations are going to have to be brought down," said Shawn Hackett, president at Hackett Advisors in Boynton Beach, Florida. "It looks to me like earnings across the board are going to be really challenging.

"Overall, I think the path (for stocks) is down and can be down for some time," he said.

The S&P MidCap 400 index .MID fell 1.5 percent while the S&P SmallCap 600 index .SML declined 1.4 percent. In comparison, the benchmark S&P 500 .SPX ended down 1.1 percent.

The small cap indexes, which posted better gains than the S&P 500 for the first quarter of the year, could stand to lose more than the broader market as stock investors turn more cautious, analysts said.

That's partly because they rely more heavily on the U.S. economy for their sales and because they are considered higher-beta stocks.

Among other decliners for the day, shares of United Therapeutics Corp (UTHR.O) were down 5.9 percent at $59 even as the company said a preliminary analysis of a late-stage trial of its pulmonary hypertension drug showed the study met its main goal of improving patients' walking ability. For details, see [ID:nL3E7H61A9] (Reporting by Caroline Valetkevitch; Editing by Kenneth Barry)

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