Oil sinks below $57 as stocks dive into red – USA TODAY

This week a lot of food-related companies are reporting earnings. USA TODAY’s Matt Krantz talks about what investors should expect.

U.S. stocks are slightly in the red amid a volatile trading day as the price of oil keeps falling. European markets were hammered.

As of 1:04 p.m. ET, the Dow Jones industrial average is down a couple of dozen points, or 0.2%. The S&P 500 is off 0.1% and the Nasdaq composite is 0.3% lower. Stocks had opened higher, the Dow being up more than 100 points at the opening bell and then, later, down by more than 100.

Europe markets followed a similar up-down trajectory, the DAX of Germany losing 2.7% to 9334.01.

Oil is sliding. The price of a barrel sold in U.S. markets is down around 2%, now several dimes below $57.

Last week, Wall Street had one of its worst weeks in the year, with the Dow plunging 315 points on Friday.

PetSmart (PETM) is up more than 4% on Sunday’s news that the pet products retailer is being acquired for about $8.2 billion. The transaction, led by group of investors led by BC Partners and including Longview Asset Management, is the biggest private equity deal of 2014.

USA TODAY

Homebuilder sentiment slips in December

U.S. manufacturing output in November surpassed its pre-recession peak, as auto production kicked into a higher gear. The Federal Reserve said Monday that factory production rose 1.1% last month, up from a 0.4% improvement in October.

In Asia, Japan’s Nikkei 225 index dropped 1.6% and Kong’s Hang Seng index fell 1%.

OPEC: ‘No set price’ for oil

Stocks in Australia fell Monday amid a hostage situation at a cafe in downtown Sydney. The S&P/ASX 200 closed the trading session down 0.6%.

Contributing: The Associated Press, Kim Hjelmgaard.

Oil price swoon sparks comparison to 2000 Nasdaq bust http://t.co/vecj2QMe92

— USA TODAY Money (@USATODAYmoney) December 15, 2014

Investors, it’s time to believe in Santa … rally http://t.co/drpDIB0soB Photo: @APpic.twitter.com/jxgpBdelpT

— USA TODAY Money (@USATODAYmoney) December 15, 2014

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