* Brent at 3-mo high, U.S. crude hits highest since
* Kiwi jumps the most in four months after rate hike
* U.S. shares dip after data, but energy stocks up
(Updates prices, adds U.S. market open, fresh comment, changes
dateline from LONDON)
By Rodrigo Campos
NEW YORK, June 12 Crude oil prices spiked on
Thursday on worries over supply as violence escalated in Iraq,
while a worldwide equities gauge edged down after Wall Street
Crude jumped after Iraqi Kurdish forces took control of the
northern oil city of Kirkuk, in the face of a triumphant Sunni
Islamist rebel march towards Baghdad that threatens Iraq's
future as a unified state.
Brent crude futures rose the most in more than three
months to a high of $112.34 a barrel, the highest since early
March. U.S. crude added 1.7 percent to its highest since
September. Prices could rise further as events unfold in Iraq.
"There are no immediate oil export implications in as much
as the latest news is about Kirkuk ... and that has a limited
impact because the northern pipeline has been down for months
already," said Gareth Lewis-Davies, a strategist at BNP Paribas.
"This is more about uncertainty as it calls into question
the ability of the central Baghdad government to keep control,"
he said. "The big fear is if they get south of Baghdad ... but
there is no immediate indication that this will happen."
On Wall Street, stocks opened lower after U.S. retail sales
rose less than expected in May and first-time applications for
unemployment benefits increased last week.
The decline was partly offset by higher prices in energy
stocks on the heels of the spike in oil prices.
The crude spike "is a significant move but not enough to
impact economic growth here in the U.S., at least not yet," said
Phil Orlando, chief equity market strategist at Federated
Investors in New York.
"We're going to have to go a lot higher than $106 (on
WTI)for that to bite."
The Dow Jones industrial average fell 44.83 points or
0.27 percent, to 16,799.05, the S&P 500 lost 5.93 points
or 0.31 percent, to 1,937.96 and the Nasdaq Composite
dropped 14.73 points or 0.34 percent, to 4,317.21.
The FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares
was flat, not far from the 6-1/2 year high of 1,398.65 peak hit
earlier this week. MSCI's global stocks gauge
fell 0.1 percent.
The New Zealand dollar jumped the most in four months to hit
its highest since mid May after the central bank raised interest
rates and kept a hawkish bias. The kiwi surged
1.6 percent to $0.8680.
The euro hit a low of $1.3510 against the U.S.
dollar, near the low of $1.3503 hit on Thursday after the
European Central Bank cut rates, before rebounding on the
weaker-than-expected U.S. data. The euro is, however, set to
post its fifth week of losses versus the dollar in the last six.
In fixed income, U.S. Treasuries edged up marginally in
price after the soft data, though the generally upbeat view on
the U.S. economy remains. Markets continue to look forward to a
Federal Reserve meeting next week. Fed Chair Janet Yellen is
expected to be pressured on the timeline for rate hikes in a
press conference on Wednesday.
"The numbers won't change the outlook for the Fed meeting
next week. It's not a big enough of a miss," said Stanley Sun,
interest rate strategist, at Nomura Securities in New York.
U.S. 10-year notes were up 2/32 in price to
yield 2.633 percent, from 2.641 percent late on Wednesday.
Yields hit session lows of 2.624 percent after the U.S. data.
(Reporting by Rodrigo Campos, additional reporting by Gertrude
Chavez-Dreyfuss in New York and Lin Noueihed in London)