US stocks dip as oil prices skid ahead of OPEC meeting

NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stocks took small losses early today as energy companies are slipping with the price of oil. Citigroup became the latest bank to report weak but better-than-expected results for the first quarter.

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 13 points to 17,913 as of 12:20 p.m. Eastern time. The Standard & Poor's 500 index lost 1 point to 2,081. The Nasdaq composite index dipped 1 point to 4,945.

Utility companies, the best-performing group of stocks on the market this year, are making the largest gains. Edison International rose 80 cents, or 1.1 percent, to $70.84 and NextEra Energy rose 1 percent.

U.S. stocks haven't moved much over the last two days, but they're up almost 2 percent this week.

U.S. crude fell $1.22, or 2.9 percent, to $40.28 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, the international benchmark, lost $1.12, or 2.6 percent, to $42.72 a barrel in London. The prices of wholesale gasoline, heating oil and natural gas also slumped 2 to 3 percent.

Ministers from major oil-producing companies will meet this weekend in Qatar to discuss their production policies. The price of oil has risen in recent weeks on hopes for a deal that will limit oil production in an effort to relieve a global glut. But a deal is far from a sure thing, and hopes for a meaningful production cut faded today and oil prices declined with them.

Chevron lost 82 cents to $97.16 and Helmerich & Payne shed $1.98, or 3.3 percent, to $57.73. Newfield Exploration gave up 55 cents, or 1.5 percent, to $34.97.

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