Shares fall on weaker oil, China losses; S&P steadies

Tue Dec 9, 2014 5:42pm EST
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By Sam Forgione

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Global equity markets fell on Tuesday after China's market posted its worst day in five years and political turmoil hit Greece, while the U.S. S&P 500 erased losses to end mostly flat on gains in technology and energy shares.

The drop in Chinese shares hurt risk sentiment, while a fall in oil prices to levels not seen since 2009 contributed to a second straight daily loss in European stocks and suggested global economic weakness.

The yuan currency CNY= took its biggest hit against the dollar since 2008, adding to the gloom pervading emerging markets.

Greece's equity market slumped nearly 13 percent on political unrest, while Brent crude, which has fallen more than 40 percent in the last six months, slipped to a five-year low of $65.29 a barrel on worries over a supply glut before rebounding. Oil prices have been under pressure as the dollar has strengthened and after OPEC decided against an output cut.

Brent LCOc1 settled up 65 cents, or 0.98 percent, at $66.84 a barrel. U.S. crude CLc1 settled up 77 cents, or 1.22 percent, at $63.82 a barrel.

"U.S. investors were clearly buying the weakness after the European market closed," Robert Francello, head trader at Apex Capital in San Francisco, said of the S&P 500 erasing most of its losses. "U.S. energy stocks and small-cap stocks had gotten very oversold and were due for a bounce."

The S&P 500 .SPX closed down just 0.02 percent at 2,059.82, while the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC closed up 0.54 percent at 4,766.47. The Dow Jones industrial average .DJI, meanwhile, closed down 0.29 percent at 17,801.2.

MSCI's all-country world equity index .MIWD00000PUS, which tracks shares in 45 nations, was last down 0.36 percent at 420.22. The FTSEurofirst 300 index .FTEU3 closed down 2.32 percent at 1,363.13.   Continued...

An investor looks at information displayed on an electronic screen at a brokerage house in Shanghai, December 8, 2014. REUTERS/Aly Song