December 13, 2017
Tuesday, January 12, 2016

US, European shares cut gains as oil prices tumble

US stocks were flat in afternoon trading on Tuesday, after an early rally was wiped out as crude oil prices once again held the markets hostage.

Crude prices were on a roller coaster ride. Earlier gains were erased as they retreated towards $30 per barrel, piling the pressure on already beleaguered energy companies and casting a pall on other sectors as well.

US stocks have mirrored the movement of oil prices over the past two sessions: opening higher, only to reverse course later on sharp turns in oil prices.

Seven of the 10 major S&P sectors were lower, led by a 1.9 percent drop in the energy sector .SPNY.

Still, the S&P 500 held above the key 1900 level, as it did on Monday, which helped the rally at the start of the day, said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at First Standard Financial in New York.

"We managed to successfully close above it (on Monday) and that's bringing in some buying this morning, just from a very oversold condition," Cardillo said.

At 13:01 p.m. ET (1801 GMT), the S&P 500 was down 1.93 points, or 0.1 percent, at 1,921.74. The index hit a low of 1901.10 on Monday. The Dow Jones industrial average was down 17.22 points, or 0.11 percent, at 16,381.35 and the Nasdaq Composite index was up 6.73 points, or 0.15 percent, at 4,644.72.

European stocks rose on Tuesday, helped by solid updates from retailers and companies in other sectors but ended off earlier highs as volatile oil prices turned sharply lower.

The FTSEurofirst 300 index closed up 1 percent at 1,349.16 points to snap four sessions of declines, but below an intra-day high of 1,362.16 points.

Japanese stocks fell, weighed down by plunging crude oil prices that continue to damage risk appetite.

The Nikkei share average slipped 2.7 percent to 17,218.96, extending earlier losses for its lowest closing since almost a year ago, when the benchmark index closed at 16,864.16 on January 16, 2015.

The Mother Market Index tracking high-growth and emerging stocks tumbled 6 percent.

The broader Topix shed 3.1 percent to end the session at 1,401.95 with each of its 33 subindexes in negative territory.

The JPX-Nikkei Index 400 fell 3.1 percent to 12,624.58.

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