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Oil prices tumble ahead of OPEC meeting, global stocks fall

Oil prices tumbled Friday on expectations OPEC next week won’t take aggressive action to boost oil prices, while global equities pulled back on trade war worries. 

Both the US and European benchmark contracts for oil fell ahead of the December 5 meeting of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries in Vienna where analysts expect the cartel to stick with a current production agreement, but not to deepen cuts.

“The market may be disappointed that OPEC is not entertaining additional production cuts,” said Andy Lipow of Lipow Oil Associates, adding that the group is “in a difficult position” given weak demand and higher output in the US and other regions.

Equity markets ended lower following a lackluster session. US bourses pulled back from records in a holiday-shortened session with low trading volumes.

Analysts said stocks were dragged lower by increased US-China trade friction as Beijing threatened unspecified retaliation after President Donald Trump signed into law legislation supporting Hong Kong pro-democracy protesters.

The market feels “a little angst” on US-China trade relations, although the modest drop suggests few fears that a preliminary US-China trade deal will fall apart, said Briefing.com analyst Patrick O’Hare, who added that low trading volume sharpened the decline.

The pullback also came as the holiday shopping season got started in earnest with the “Black Friday” promotions after Thanksgiving. 

Walmart rose slightly, but most other leading US retailers fell, including Target and Amazon, as consumers shift ever more of their dollars to e-commerce from traditional stores

Elsewhere, London underperformed its eurozone peers in response to a stronger pound which was boosted by expectations that Britain’s ruling Conservatives will win next month’s general election.

This would likely allow Prime Minister Boris Johnson to push through his Brexit agreement and avoid a no-deal divorce from the European Union.

On the corporate front, shares in Daimler dropped 1.5 percent. on the Frankfurt bourse as the German luxury automaker said it would slash at least 10,000 jobs worldwide in a major cost-cutting drive to help finance the switch to electric cars.

Shares in UK online supermarket Ocado surged after the company announced a deal to provide artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities to Japanese retail giant Aeon.


Key figures around 1900 GMT

New York – Dow: DOWN 0.4 percent at 28,051.41 (close)

New York – S&P 500: DOWN 0.4 percent at 3,140.98 (close)

New York – Nasdaq: DOWN 0.5 percent at 8,665.47 (close)

London – FTSE 100: DOWN 0.9 percent at 7,346.53 (close)

Frankfurt – DAX 30: DOWN 0.1 percent at 13,236.38 (close)

Paris – CAC 40: DOWN 0.1 percent at 5,905.17 (close)

EURO STOXX 50: FLAT at 3,703.58 (close)

Tokyo – Nikkei 225: DOWN 0.5 percent at 23,293.91 (close)

Hong Kong – Hang Seng: DOWN 2.0 percent at 26,346.49 (close)

Shanghai – Composite: DOWN 0.6 percent at 2,871.98 (close)

Euro/dollar: UP at $1.1017 from $1.1009 

Pound/dollar: UP at $1.2933 from $1.2912

Euro/pound: DOWN at 85.18 pence from 85.27

Dollar/yen: DOWN at 109.47 yen from 109.51

Brent North Sea crude: DOWN 2.3 percent at $62.43 per barrel

West Texas Intermediate: DOWN 5.1 percent at $55.17 per barrel

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