NEW YORK (Reuters) - Brent crude fell below $100 a barrel on Tuesday for the first time in nine months as continued concerns about the global economy weighed on the outlook for demand, while gold and U.S. stocks rebounded after the recent sell-off lured buyers into the market.
The broad rout in commodities and stocks seen in recent sessions was triggered by data from China and the United States that raised worries about the strength of the global economy’s recovery.
Those fears continued to weigh on oil on Tuesday, with Brent crude down $1.15 at $99.48 a barrel. U.S. crude lost 36 cents to $88.35.
“We are still seeing some weakness in price, in contrast to a number of markets that are snapping back to the upside with more vigor. That’s because we still have a lot of oil,” said Tim Evans, an Energy Futures Specialist at Citi Futures Perspectives in New York.
“I think what we’re seeing is a shift in the oil markets’ focus to its own fundamentals, rather than trying to pretend that the oil market is the equity market, or a currency market.”
U.S. stocks gained on Tuesday, supported by strong earnings results from some of America’s biggest companies and on expectations that the Federal Reserve will continue to provide stimulus.
Gold bounced after plunging more than 8 percent on Monday. Spot gold initially dropped further, to $1,321.35, before reversing direction to be up nearly 2 percent at $1,377.61 on Tuesday afternoon.
Gold has fallen about 20 percent so far this year after an unbroken 12 years of gains and is down some 28 percent from the record high hit in September 2011 of $1,920.30 an ounce.
“I think everyone has to take a breath now, ... but there are people who still want to sell and they haven’t done so yet,” said David Govett, head of precious metals at Marex Spectron.
Analysts have cited various reasons for gold’s latest slump, including funds switching out of bullion and the possibility that other central banks in Europe could use Cyprus’s bailout plans to sell excess gold reserves as a reason to sell some of their own holdings.
Stocks on Wall Street rose more than 1 percent by early afternoon, helped in part by a drop in U.S. consumer prices last month that left room for the Federal Reserve to keep up its economic stimulus efforts.
“Dovish economic data is not good in the long run, but it is certainly supportive of more Fed action,” said Art Hogan, managing director at Lazard Capital Markets in New York.
A batch of strong earnings reports also drove gains. Coca-Cola (KO.N) reported better-than-expected profit that sent its shares up more than 5 percent to their highest level since 1998. Shares of Johnson & Johnson (JNJ.N) hit a record high of $83.50 after the healthcare company, a Dow component, reported strong quarterly earnings.
The Dow Jones industrial average .DJI gained 147.43 points, or 1.01 percent, to 14,746.63. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index .SPX rose 19.87 points, or 1.28 percent, to 1,572.23. The Nasdaq Composite Index .IXIC climbed 44.41 points, or 1.38 percent, to 3,260.90.
Separate data showed U.S. factory output declined in March, while permits for future housing construction tumbled. Data at the start of the year had been generally upbeat, pointing to an acceleration in economic growth in the first quarter, but recent reports have suggested the recovery hit a soft patch heading into the spring.
MSCI’s global share index .MIWD00000PUS, which tracks around 9,000 stocks in 45 countries, was up 0.6 percent, having been almost 0.5 percent lower earlier in the day. The FTSEurofirst 300 .FTEU3 closed 0.7 percent lower.
The ZEW German consumer confidence numbers were disappointing, and a lackluster update from luxury group LVMH (LVMH.PA) heightened concerns about the earnings outlook for European companies.
Additional reporting by Rodrigo Campos and Anna Louie Sussman; Editing by Leslie Adler