Stocks stumble as oil prices slump | Reuters - Firstpost
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Stocks stumble as oil prices slump | Reuters

Updated: Feb 24, 2016 01:15 IST

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NEW YORK Global equity markets slumped on Tuesday, denting the recent recovery in riskier assets as oil prices tumbled, reversing some of their recent bounce on signs a proposed output freeze by producers would not come to fruition.

After gains of more than 5 percent on Monday, which had helped push a gauge of world equities up more than 1 percent, both Brent LCOc1 and U.S. crude CLc1 were down more about 4 percent. Crude weakened after Saudi Oil Minister Ali Al-Naimi said he welcomed all sources of supply, while Iran was seen as unlikely to agree to an output cap.

The decline in crude weighed on both the energy .SPNY and financial .SPSY sectors on Wall Street. Concerns about bank exposure to the energy sector were highlighted by JP Morgan's (JPM.N) announcement that it will put aside an additional $500 million to cover potentially bad loans to energy companies.

"You still see this hypersensitivity to what's going on with the price of oil and the market's reacting on a day-to-day basis to that," said Scott Brown, chief economist at Raymond James in St. Petersburg, Florida.

"It really shouldn't, but it gives you a sense of the nervousness out there."

U.S. crude futures were last down 4.5 percent at $31.90 a barrel and Brent LCOc1 lost 3.8 percent to $33.36 a barrel. The commodity had shown signs of stabilization above $30 a barrel recently on hopes a production freeze by major producers could be agreed upon.

The Dow Jones industrial average .DJI fell 170.93 points, or 1.03 percent, to 16,449.73, the S&P 500 .SPX lost 19.49 points, or 1 percent, to 1,926.01 and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC dropped 48.58 points, or 1.06 percent, to 4,522.03.

European shares also moved lower on the crude weakness, along with and disappointing updates from Standard Chartered (STAN.L), down 6.7 percent, and BHP Billiton (BLT.L), down 6.1 percent. A weak sentiment reading of German manufacturers also raised concerns about the health of the region's largest economy.

Resources stocks .SXPP, down 3.2 percent, weighed heavily on European equity indices after the world's largest miner, BHP Billiton, posted its first loss in 16 years.

The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 .FTEU3 index of leading shares closed down 1.3 percent. MSCI's index of world shares .MIWD00000PUS was lost 0.92 percent.

In currency markets, the British pound GBP= remained vulnerable, a day after falling nearly 2 percent, its biggest one-day percentage drop in almost six years, on worries Britain may leave the European Union. Sterling was last down 0.83 percent at 1.403.

The euro EUR= also fell to $1.0987 on Monday, its lowest in almost three weeks, on fears Brexit could undermine the European Union. It was last down 0.03 percent at $1.1023.

Investors' shift towards safer ground on Tuesday pushed the dollar lower against the yen, down 0.7 percent to 112.12 yen JPY= after hitting a low of 111.75. The risk-aversion helped lift gold 1.2 percent to $1,222.90 an ounce XAU=.

The dollar's index against a basket of six major currencies .DXY was little changed, up 0.01 percent at 97.386.

Benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasuries reversed earlier losses and were last up 10/32 in price to yield 1.7311 percent.

(Additional reporting by Abhiram Nandakumar; Editing by Nick Zieminski)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

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