NEW YORK – Oil prices plumbed 5-1/2-year lows on Monday, pulling down emerging market assets and boosting demand for the safe-haven yen, while global equity markets slipped further after last week’s rout amid nagging worries about worldwide growth.
Stocks on Wall Street opened higher but soon retreated as crude oil prices gave up early gains after the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries restated its determination not to cut output despite a global energy glut.
The ruble hit record lows and Russian assets plunged on concern about possible new U.S. sanctions over Ukraine, weak oil prices and one-sided bets that the currency would extend its slide.
The yield rise on U.S. Treasuries was limited by persistent concerns about weakening growth and inflation globally. U.S. stocks dipped even as U.S. manufacturing output posted its biggest gain in nine months in November as production expanded across the board, pointing to underlying U.S. economic strength.
“There’s a lot of things going on, but most of them are driven off the drop in oil prices,” said Rick Meckler, president of hedge fund LibertyView Capital Management in Jersey City, New Jersey. “You had some traders take profits on the early (U.S. stock market) gains once oil moved to negative.”
The Dow Jones industrial average was down 142.64 points, or 0.83 percent, at 17,138.19. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index was down 17.70 points, or 0.88 percent, at 1,984.63. The Nasdaq Composite Index was down 56.23 points, or 1.21 percent, at 4,597.37.
In Europe, the FTSEurofirst 300 index of top regional shares fell 2.28 percent at 1,291.66, while MSCI’s all-country world index , which measures stock performance in 45 countries, fell 1.14 percent to 404.07.
MSCI’s emerging markets index fell 1.66 percent.
Brent crude hit a five-year low close to $60 a barrel before paring losses, trading down 50 cents to $61.35. U.S. crude for January traded down $1.32 at $56.49 a barrel.
Growth worries have supported bets the Federal Reserve might consider keeping its pledge to leave short-term interest rates near zero for a “considerable period” in its latest policy statement at the end of two-day meeting on Wednesday.
The price on benchmark 10-year Treasury notes rose slightly, pushing the yield down a tad at 2.0886 percent.
The euro was last down 0.27 percent against the dollar, at $1.2426. The dollar was 0.61 percent lower against the yen at 118.05 yen. REUTERS
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