Global stocks slip as oil prices surge

BEIJING (AP) — Global stock markets sank Monday after crude prices surged following an attack on Saudi Arabia’s biggest oil processing facility.

Market benchmarks in Europe dropped after Asian markets mostly closed lower, while Wall Street futures were down slightly. Shanghai’s index was unchanged, and Japanese markets were closed for a holiday.

Benchmark U.S. crude jumped $4.64 per barrel to $59.49 following the attack on oil producer Saudi Aramco’s Abqaiq facility for which Yemeni rebels claimed responsibility. Brent crude, the international standard, was up $5.37 after spiking nearly $8 at one point, to trade at $65.59.

That hurt airline stocks and other businesses with big fuel bills and pushed up inflation expectations. At the same time, higher crude prices are a boost to oil-exporting companies and countries.

“This is obviously not a good day if you are an oil importer,” said Chris Weston of Pepperstone Group in a report.

“This isn’t just a question of who or even what actually caused the attacks, but some have questioned whether we will we see further attacks and Saudi infrastructure is vulnerable,” said Weston.

In Europe, London’s FTSE 100 lost 0.2% to 7,350 and Frankfurt’s DAX retreated 0.6% to 12,396. France’s CAC 40 lost 0.7% to 5,613.

On Wall Street, the futures for the benchmark Standard & Poor’s 500 index and for the Dow Jones Industrial Average were both down 0.4%.

In Asia, the Hang Seng index was off 0.8% at 27,124.55 after dropping 1.1% at one point following more anti-government protests.

The Hong Kong airport reported passenger traffic fell 12% in August from a year ago, a sign of the economic impact of demonstrations that began three months ago.

“Oil ructions aside, investors would have already been nervous today in Asia as a belligerent China returns from holiday,” Jeffrey Halley of Oanda said in a report.

The Shanghai Composite Index was off 0.5 points at 3,030.75 as trading resumed following a three-day holiday weekend. Sydney’s S&P-ASX 200 was up 4 points at 6,673.50.

Seoul’s Kospi gained 0.6% to 2,062.22 while India’s Sensex lost 0.7% to 37,111.12. Taiwan advanced and Southeast Asian markets retreated.

Investor anxiety about the U.S.-Chinese tariff war eased following conciliatory gestures last week by both sides ahead of negotiations next month on their conflict over trade and technology.

U.S. President Donald Trump postponed planned Oct. 1 tariff hikes to Oct. 15, opening up the possibility they might be put off indefinitely if the talks make progress. Beijing announced Friday it would lift punitive duties on soybeans, China’s biggest import from the United States, and some other farm goods.

Despite that, the two sides have given no indication of progress toward resolving the core issues in the sprawling dispute that threatens global economic growth.

This week, investors are looking for a possible U.S. interest rate cut by the Federal Reserve. The central bank lowered its benchmark rate in July by a quarter point, its first cut in a decade, to prop up U.S. economic growth.

In currency markets, the dollar declined to 107.73 yen from Friday’s 108.09 yen. The euro sank to $1.1038 from $1.1078.

Copyright © 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.

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