U.S. stocks stumble, oil falls to five-year lows

Mon Dec 8, 2014 4:50pm EST
 
Email This Article |
Share This Article
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
| Print This Article | Single Page
[-] Text [+]

By Richard Leong

NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. and European stocks fell on Monday after weak Chinese and Japanese data stoked worries about slowing global economic growth, while oil prices sank to five-year lows on expectations of oversupply into 2015.

The euro sagged to 2-1/2-year lows against the dollar after European Central Bank policymaker Ewald Nowotny warned of a "massive weakening" of the euro zone economy and said the purchase of state bonds could provide a boost. His comments came just days after Standard and Poor's downgraded its credit rating on Italy, the bloc's third-largest economy, to a level just above junk status.

Nowotny's remarks raised bets in the bond market for a fresh round of ECB stimulus in the first quarter of 2015.

Data out of Asia and the sell-off in oil took a toll on sentiment.

In energy markets, Brent crude LCOc1 settled down $2.88 or 4.17 percent at $66.19 a barrel, a five-year low, on predictions that oversupply would keep building until next year after OPEC decided not to cut output. U.S. crude futures CLc1 settled down $2.79 a barrel, or 4.24 percent, at $63.05.[O/R]

Japan reported its third-quarter economic contraction was deeper than previously thought, while China's unexpectedly weak import data signaled slowing demand in the world's second- biggest economy.

The disappointing economic developments abroad overshadowed Friday's robust U.S. jobs report, which revived bets the Federal Reserve might consider ending its near-zero interest rate policy in mid-2015.

"I think people are looking at the potential ripple effects from the slide in oil. You're seeing some of these ripple effects today," said Michael James, managing director of equity trading at Wedbush Securities in Los Angeles, noting there also seems to be profit-taking as year's end draws near.   Continued...

 
A Wall Street sign is pictured outside the New York Stock Exchange in New York, October 28, 2013.  REUTERS/Carlo Allegri