Oil prices slump amid ample supply, gold falls | Reuters
By Herbert Lash | NEW YORK NEW YORK Crude oil extended a slump amid record U.S.
By Herbert Lash
| NEW YORK
NEW YORK Crude oil extended a slump amid record U.S. stockpiles on Thursday, helping push down equity markets as energy stocks slid, while bets the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates next week weighed on gold and industrial metals.Rising expectations the Fed will boost rates on March 15 lifted financial shares whose gains led major indices in Europe to close higher with the exception of the mining- and energy-rich FTSE 100 .FTSE in London, which fell 0.27 percent.The FTSEurofirst 300 index .FTEU3 of leading regional shares in Europe closed up 0.1 percent to 1,470.65.Expectations of higher rates lifted yields on two- and five-year U.S. Treasury notes to highs last seen in August 2009 and April 2011, respectively, as a bond market selloff accelerated.Oil prices slid to their lowest since late November as record U.S. crude inventories kept sentiment weak and pointed to a global glut despite supply cuts by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Companies.Brent crude oil LCOc1, the global benchmark, fell 92 cents a barrel to settle at $52.19, while U.S. light crude CLc1 settled down $1.00 to $49.28 a barrel.Crude oil has traded in a tight range this year of about $50 to $55 a barrel and looks poised for further declines.
Royal Dutch Shell Plc (RDSb.L) and BP Plc (BP.L), along with miners BHP Billiton (BLT.L) and Glencore (GLEN.L), pushed stocks lower in London.Apple Inc (AAPL.O), Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O) and International Business Machines (IBM.N) weighed on Wall Street.MSCI's 46-country all-world stock index .MIWD00000PUS fell for a sixth consecutive day, the longest slide since the start of 2016. The global benchmark fell 0.17 percent, down from an all-time high set just over a week ago.The Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI fell 17.42 points, or 0.08 percent, to 20,838.31. The S&P 500 .SPX lost 0.95 points, or 0.04 percent, to 2,362.03 and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC dropped 4.12 points, or 0.07 percent, to 5,833.43. The outlook for U.S. stocks still remains bright on the eighth anniversary of the current bull market, said Michael Arone, chief investment strategist at State Street Global Advisors in Boston.
Signs the market may turn bearish, such as frequent corrections of 5 percent or more, a rise in interest rates above the inflation rate and widening credit spreads are not visible, he said. "I do think the market could continue to rise, particularly if the economic data and earnings continue to strengthen," Arone said. However, "the sand in this particular bull market hourglass is getting smaller, not greater." The Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI rose 18.83 points, or 0.09 percent, to 20,874.56. The S&P 500 .SPX gained 3.78 points, or 0.16 percent, to 2,366.76 and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC added 9.78 points, or 0.17 percent, to 5,847.33.
The dollar fell against a basket of major currencies as the euro gained after European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi suggested it was less necessary to prop up the market through ultra-loose monetary policy.Draghi said the ECB removed a reference to using all available measures to induce growth and inflation "because the sense of urgency is not there."The euro EUR= rose above $1.06 during Draghi's remarks, reversing earlier declines. It was last up 0.48 percent at $1.0590.The dollar index .DXY, which tracks the greenback against the euro and five other major world currencies, fell 0.21 percent at 101.860.Gold sank to a five-week low, with analysts expecting further losses, as investors become increasingly confident that U.S. interest rates will rise.U.S. gold futures GCcv1 settled down 0.51 percent to $1,203.20 an ounce. (Reporting by Herbert Lash; Editing by Bernadette Baum and Nick Zieminski)
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By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States
BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.