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GLOBAL MARKETS-Wall Street pares gains on lower oil prices, dollar climbs
February 7, 2017 / 8:17 PM / 10 months ago

GLOBAL MARKETS-Wall Street pares gains on lower oil prices, dollar climbs

* U.S. stocks pare gains on lower oil prices

* Oil down on sluggish demand and U.S. shale revival

* Euro in biggest fall this year before recovering

* Euro zone spreads widest in years (Adds oil price settlement, higher dollar, European close; Updates throughout)

By Hilary Russ

NEW YORK, Feb 7 (Reuters) - Wall Street pared gains on declining oil prices, while the dollar climbed to a more than one-week high on Tuesday on technical buying and political uncertainty in Europe.

Oil fell with sluggish demand and evidence of a burgeoning revival in U.S. shale production.

“U.S. shale is coming back, and it’s coming back strong,” said Societe Generale oil analyst Michael Wittner.

U.S. crude oil futures settled 1.58 percent, or 84 cents, lower at $52.17 a barrel. Brent was down 1.17 percent, or 65 cents, at $55.07.

The price moves dragged down U.S. energy shares after the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the Nasdaq Composite hit all-time highs just after the market opened.

In late trading, the Dow rose 41.64 points, or 0.21 percent, to 20,094.06, the S&P 500 gained 0.76 points, or 0.03 percent, to 2,293.32 and the Nasdaq Composite added 8.02 points, or 0.14 percent, to 5,671.57.

Fourth-quarter U.S. earnings are estimated to have risen 8.2 percent, the best in nine quarters.

The dollar gained for a fifth straight session, in part because of “buying by bargain-hunters looking to pick up the greenback following its worst start to the year in 30 years,” said to Omer Esiner, chief market analyst at Commonwealth Foreign Exchange in Washington. The greenback was on track to post its best one-day gain since mid-December, rising at the expense of the euro.

The euro fell 0.8 percent to $1.0665, its biggest fall since Dec. 15, before recovering to $1.0696.

The European currency struggled on renewed concern about Greece’s debt problems and signs that far-right candidate Marine Le Pen is gaining momentum before France’s presidential election.

The political uncertainty weighed on French stocks, which slipped as election jitters dampened the country’s sovereign bonds.

Even so, European shares still closed higher overall, with the pan-European STOXX 600 index rising 0.32 percent, helped by corporate results.

Investors also fled French government bonds. Though opinion polls suggested that Le Pen will not win the second round of the presidential election in May, such polls have been wrong before, Rabobank analysts said on Tuesday.

Le Pen has vowed to fight globalization and take France out of the euro zone.

The premium investors demand for buying French 10-year government bonds over German 10-year bonds rose to 78 basis points, the highest level since November 2012 before easing back a bit. It was 50 basis points only two weeks ago.

U.S. Treasury yields fell to their lowest in nearly three weeks, drifting past significant technical levels, as fixed-income investors worried that President Donald Trump’s pro-growth policies could be hamstrung by his focus on other issues.

The U.S. trade deficit also fell more than expected in December as exports rose to their highest level in more than 1-1/2 years, outpacing an increase in imports. The dollar gained 4.4 percent against the currencies of the United States’ main trading partners last year.

Additional reporting by Lucia Mutikani in Washington Dion Rabouin, Jessica Resnick-Ault and Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss in New York; Yashaswini Swamynathan and Tanya Agrawal in Bengaluru; Editing by Nick Zieminski and Dan Grebler

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