November 8, 2018 / 12:44 AM / 7 days ago

Slump in oil prices and China data weighs on stocks

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Stocks around the globe suffered their biggest drop in two weeks on Friday as weak Chinese economic data sapped demand for equities while oil prices weakened again on Friday.

U.S. stocks were broadly lower, with energy shares .SPNY falling more than 1.0 percent as benchmark Brent crude oil saw a six-month low and U.S. crude fell below $60 for the first time since March.

Data from China added to the downward pressure, showing factory-gate inflation slowed for the fourth month in October on cooling domestic demand and manufacturing activity.

Bad debts at Chinese brokers and banks are also causing concern.

In the U.S., producer prices rose more than expected in October and at their fastest pace in six years, but measures of underlying price pressure cooled, bolstering the view that the U.S. central bank is not facing a resurgence in inflation.

European shares dipped as mining and oil stocks sold off, but they managed to end the week with a small gain.

“Oil is spooking the market. If oil prices are going to go lower that’s another sign that the global economy is going to slow its growth,” said Chris Zaccarelli, chief investment officer at Independent Advisor Alliance in Charlotte, North Carolina. “It looks like a slow (stocks) sell off. All day long its been drifting lower.”

Traders work on the floor at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York City, U.S., November 9, 2018. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly

The Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI fell 201.92 points, or 0.77 percent, to 25,989.3, the S&P 500 .SPX lost 25.82 points, or 0.92 percent, to 2,781.01 and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC dropped 123.98 points, or 1.65 percent, to 7,406.90.

Equities snapped a streak of seven straight days of gains on Thursday after the U.S. Federal Reserve held interest rates steady but appeared to remain on track to raise its policy interest rate next month.

The Federal Reserve decision disappointed some investors who had hoped that the sharp share price falls during what has been called “Red October” might have encouraged the U.S. central bank to take a more dovish approach toward monetary policy.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index lost 0.37 percent and MSCI’s gauge of stocks across the globe .MIWD00000PUS shed 1.08 percent.

The U.s. dollar, which had weakened sharply after Tuesday’s U.S. mid-term elections, was up for a second straight day and on track for a fourth straight week of gains.

Further dollar gains can pose headwinds for risky assets as that translates into tightening financial conditions as most emerging market economies borrow in dollars. A strong dollar could also hurt earnings of multinational U.S. corporations.

The dollar index .DXY rose 0.19 percent, with the euro EUR= down 0.26 percent to $1.1333.

The equity weakness pushed bond yields lower. Benchmark 10-year notes US10YT=RR last rose 12/32 in price to yield 3.1875 percent, from 3.232 percent late on Thursday.

Oil prices fell to multi-month lows as global supply increased and investors worried about the possibility of slowing fuel demand, putting U.S. crude on track for the longest stretch of daily declines since 1984.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude CLc1 settled down 0.79 percent at $60.19 per barrel and Brent LCOc1 settled at $70.18, down 0.67 percent on the day.

Additonal reporting by Sinead Carew; Editing by Clive McKeef

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