* World shares slide on U.S. results, France credit
* Oil falls as ample crude stocks outweigh Mideast tensions
* Dollar extends gain against yen after U.S. housing data
By Herbert Lash
NEW YORK, Nov 20 World shares fell on Tuesday on
weak U.S. corporate results and after France lost its top credit
rating from Moody's, while oil fell as ample crude supplies
outweighed worries about fighting between Israel and
U.S. stocks fell after the benchmark S&P 500 index had
gained more than 2 percent since Friday, its best two-day run in
nearly four months, on optimism a deal could be reached to stave
off the looming U.S. "fiscal cliff."
But doubt over a speedy resolution of automatic tax hikes
and spending cuts totaling about $600 billion that threaten to
cause a recession is keeping investors on edge.
"The market is going to go up and down based on rhetoric
coming out of Washington," said Steven Roge, portfolio manager
at RW Roge & Co in Beverly, Massachusetts.
"Because the delta of outcomes is so gigantic - you could
have us go off the fiscal cliff, Europe blow up or fiscal cliff
gets passed, growth resumes, Europe grows its way out of the
debt crisis - we are just waiting for direction and the fiscal
cliff is that first piece of information."
Hewlett-Packard Co tumbled 1 1.6 percent to $11. 75
and was the biggest drag on t h e Dow and S&P 500 a fter the
company took an $8.8 billion charge related to its acquisition
of software firm Autonomy, citing "serious accounting
improprieties." The computer and printer maker swung to a
The Dow Jones industrial average was down 54.72
points, or 0.43 percent, at 12,741.24. The Standard & Poor's 500
Index was down 4.18 points, or 0.30 percent, at 1,382.71.
The Nasdaq Composite Index was down 7.80 points, or 0.27
percent, at 2,908.27.
European shares were about break-even after slipping earlier
on Moody's announcement of a cut in France's credit rating.
While France's downgrade had been expected and was largely
priced-in, analysts said the previous session's big gains - when
the FTSEurofirst 300 posted its biggest daily rise in
10 weeks - meant some were using it as a reason to take profits.
The index rose 0.2 percent to 1,093.17, while MSCI's
all-country world equity index was unchanged at
The dollar extended gains versus the yen after U.S. housing
starts data suggested the housing market recovery was gathering
steam, even though permits for future construction fell.
The dollar last traded at 81.64 yen, up 0.12 percent
on the day. The euro rose as high as $1.2828 and at last
trade was flat at $1.2802, according to Reuters data.
U.S. housing starts rose to their highest rate in more than
four years in October.
Crude prices fell to $111 a barrel as concern over Europe's
economy also pressured oil and other commodities after ratings
agency Moody's stripped France of its AAA credit rating due to
an uncertain fiscal and economic outlook.
Brent crude was down 24 cents to $111.46 per barrel
and U.S. crude fell 78 cents to $88.50.