Oil prices slump amid ample supply, gold falls
By Herbert Lash
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Crude oil extended a slump on Thursday on news of record-high U.S. stockpiles, dragging on equity markets as energy stocks slid, while bets the Federal Reserve will raise U.S. interest rates next week weighed on gold and industrial metals.
Wall Street rose at the close to end marginally higher on speculation a widely anticipated labor market report on Friday will show U.S. payrolls growth in February was far more than economist forecast.
Rising expectations the Fed will boost rates next week lifted financial shares whose gains led major indexes 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 sell-off accelerated.
Oil prices slid to their lowest since late November as record-large 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 LCOc1, the global benchmark, fell 92 cents to settle at $52.19 a barrel, while U.S. light crude CLc1 settled down $1.00 to $49.28.
Oil has traded in a tight range this year of about $50 to $55 a barrel and looks poised for further declines. Continued...