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While you were sleeping: Oil slides on stalemate

Wednesday 30th November 2016

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Energy stocks fell with oil prices amid a stalemate about an agreement to cut production by the world’s biggest producers. 

Meanwhile, Wall Street advanced, pushing the Nasdaq to a record high, amid optimism about the US economy. A Commerce Department report showed gross domestic product expanded at a better-than-expected 3.2 percent annual pace in the third quarter, up from a previously estimated 2.9 percent, and accelerating from a 1.4 percent rate in the second quarter.

“Growth is going to remain heavily reliant on the consumer, but consumers are in very good position to lead that charge,” Russell Price, senior economist at Ameriprise Financial in Detroit, told Bloomberg. “Overall, it’s an encouraging sign for the path ahead.”

In 12.55pm trading in New York, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.17 percent, while the Nasdaq Composite Index gained 0.54 percent. In 12.40pm trading, the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index added 0.24 percent. The Nasdaq touched a record high 5,403.86.

In the Dow, advances in shares of UnitedHealth and those of Boeing, up 3.6 percent and 1.2 percent respectively, outweighed declines in shares of Chevron and those of Exxon Mobil, down 1.5 percent and 0.9 percent respectively.

Oil prices slid about 4 percent amid signs that OPEC negotiations on production cuts are deadlocked. One stumbling block is that Iran says it won’t reduce output.

"You're seeing oil, both in terms of the physical commodity as well as energy equities, under pressure today and this is on the back of increased scepticism surrounding the likelihood of OPEC reaching any type of consensus” on Wednesday, Marcelle Daher, co-head of North American asset allocation at John Hancock Financial Services, told Reuters.

Shares of Tiffany climbed, trading 4 percent stronger as of 1.20pm in New York, as the jeweller’s better-than-expected earnings bolstered optimism about the outlook. Tiffany posted its first increased in sales in eight quarters.

In Europe, the Stoxx 600 Index ended the session with a 0.3 percent increase from the previous close. Germany’s DAX Index gained 0.4 percent, and France’s CAC 40 Index climbed 0.9 percent.

Here, the focus is on this weekend’s constitutional referendum in Italy. 

“European stocks should remain volatile and with lower volume throughout the week,” Herbert Perus, head of equities at Raiffeisen Capital Management in Vienna, told Bloomberg. “Many investors are on the sidelines waiting for the Italian referendum. We have a very important OPEC meeting ahead, therefore the oil price is shaky and so are oil-related companies.”

The UK’s FTSE 100 Index shed 0.4 percent as mining stocks pulled back with base metals and oil.

Shares of Switzerland’s Actelion closed 10 percent higher in Zurich. Johnson & Johnson raised its takeover offer for Europe’s largest biotech firm, Bloomberg reported, citing people familiar with the matter.

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