U.S. indices reversed the gains that futures made in premarket trading, with the S&P 500 falling 0.5%, the Dow Jones Industrial Average declining 0.3% and the Nasdaq retreating 0.8% at midday Wednesday.
The market continues to be at the mercy of oil prices, which were declining over $1 midday. Industry standard Brent crude for May delivery was down $1.06 to $40.73 a barrel, while West Texas Intermediate was down $1.31 to $40.14. The $41 level has acted as a barrier over the past few sessions, though the commodity has rallied admirably from its $26 February low.
Oil stocks are having a tough session as a result of the dip, with Chesapeake Energy dropping over 7%. ConocoPhillips (COP) was declining nearly 5% and Exxon Mobil (XOM) fell sharply before paring some of its losses.
Oil futures were hurt by data showing that U.S. supplies rose for the sixth straight week, climbing 9.4 million barrels to 532.5 million. Analysts polled by Platts were expecting inventories to rise by just 2.7 million barrels.
Shares of Petrobras (PBR) had a delayed reaction to Monday night's revelation that it had its worst quarter ever, losing $10.2 billion during the period. The stock rose in Tuesday's session, but Wednesday it was down 6% on heavy volume.
Analyst darling Nike (NKE) was falling on heavy volume following the release of its latest quarterly financial results. While the athletic apparel company reported mixed results, beating on the bottom line while missing the top line, Real Money's Jim Cramer sees the dip as a buying opportunity. "You have to go through the numbers," Cramer said. "Yes, it's true, futures were a little bit light, but very little light. China was extraordinary."
Krispy Kreme Doughnuts (KKD) was also dropping on nearly five times its normal trading volume following the release of its latest earnings results. The company missed analysts' fourth-quarter revenue expectations while also providing weak outlook for the current fiscal year.
Finally, Valeant Pharmaceuticals (VRX) extended its rally, climbing 7% one session after it rose 10%. The stock had been getting hammered after the company revealed it had double-booked some drug sales over the past year and that it would have to restate past earnings reports.