World shares fall on oil slump

Specialist Anthony Matesic, left, works at his post on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange with traders Ryan Falvey, center, and Glenn Kessler. Photo / AP
Specialist Anthony Matesic, left, works at his post on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange with traders Ryan Falvey, center, and Glenn Kessler. Photo / AP

Stocks on both sides of the Atlantic dropped with the price of oil after Saudi Arabia's oil minister said the country won't cut output.

Earlier this month Saudi Arabia and Russia agreed to freeze oil production at January levels, if other producers will follow suit. Oil prices fell more than 5 percent.

"We are not banking on cuts because" there is "less than trust" that "countries are going to deliver even if they promise," Saudi Oil Minister Ali Al-Naimi said in Houston, Bloomberg reported. High-cost producers will have to "lower costs, borrow or liquidate" to cope with the slump in oil prices, Al-Naimi said.

"It may sound harsh, and unfortunately it is, but it is the most efficient way to rebalance markets," Al-Naimi noted. "Cutting low cost production to subsidise higher cost supplies only delays an inevitable reckoning."

While US Treasuries rose, Wall Street fell. In 12.54pm New York trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 0.95 percent, while the Nasdaq Composite Index shed 0.99 percent.

In 12.39pm trading, the Standard & Poor's 500 Index declined 1 percent.

Slides in shares of Goldman Sachs and those of Chevron, last down 2.9 percent each, led the decline in the Dow. All 30 stocks on the Dow traded lower in the early afternoon.
Shares of JPMorgan Chase dropped, last 3.9 percent lower, after the largest US bank by assets said it would set aside more money to cover potential hits from the energy, metal and mining sectors.

At its annual investors day, JPMorgan said it will reserve an additional US$500 million for potential losses in oil and gas as well an additional US$100 million for potential losses in metals and mining by the end of the first quarter of this year.

"The market is still groping for direction," Scott Brown, chief economist at Raymond James in St. Petersburg, Florida, told Reuters. "You still see this hypersensitivity to what's going on with the price of oil and the market's reacting on a day-to-day basis to that. It really shouldn't, but it gives you a sense of the nervousness out there."

Meanwhile, Time, the publisher of Sports Illustrated, People and Time magazines, has been exploring a deal to acquire Yahoo's core business, according to media reports citing unnamed sources.

Time has heard a presentation from Citigroup bankers on pursuing a deal to merge with Yahoo, Bloomberg reported, citing people familiar with the matter. The idea is of real interest to Time CEO Joe Ripp. Citigroup hasn't been retained, according to Bloomberg.
Shares of Time recently traded 2.6 percent lower while those of Yahoo were 1.2 percent weaker.

Bucking the downward market trend were shares of Home Depot, last 2.2 percent higher, after the home improvement chain reported quarterly earnings that surpassed expectations.

In Europe, the Stoxx 600 Index ended the session with a fall of 1.2 percent from the previous close. The UK's FTSE 100 Index slid 1.3 percent, France's CAC 40 Index retreated 1.4 percent, while Germany's DAX Index decreased 1.6 percent.

- BusinessDesk

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