Oil plunges to seven-year low, Wall St. down

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Oil prices skidded to their lowest level in nearly seven years on Monday, knocking down shares of major oil companies on Wall Street as a global glut showed no signs of abating.

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Brent crude prices LCOc1 fell to $40.60, the lowest since February 2009, after a meeting of members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries Friday ended in disagreement over production cuts and without a reference to its output ceiling.

Exxon XOM.N, down 2.6 percent, and Chevron CVX.N, which fell 2.7 percent, were the biggest drags on the U.S. Dow and benchmark S&P 500 indexes. Increased strength in the dollar for a second straight session also made it more expensive to hold crude positions.

Brent crude LCOc1 was last down $2.26, or 5.3 percent, at $40.74 a barrel, while U.S. crude CLc1 settled down $2.32 or 5.8 percent at $37.65 per barrel.

“As a result of the collapse in oil and gas prices today, the market is worried that you’re going to see less capital spending, you’re losing a lot of a good-wage jobs in the oil patch, and people are worrying that we’re going to see a snowball of defaults among high-yield energy issuers,” said Scott Wren, senior global equity strategist at Wells Fargo Investment Institute in St. Louis.

MSCI's all-country world equity index .MIWD00000PUS, which tracks shares in 45 nations, fell 0.5 percent.

The Dow Jones industrial average .DJI fell 0.7 percent to 17,730.51. The S&P 500 .SPX lost 0.7 percent to 2,077.07. The Nasdaq Composite .IXIC was off 0.8 percent, at 5,101.81.

The dollar rose on expectations the U.S. Federal Reserve is on track to raise interest rates next week in the wake of November's solid jobs report. The dollar index .DXY, which tracks the greenback against a basket of six major currencies, rose 0.39 percent, to 98.74.

A weaker euro helped boost European shares from three-week lows hit last week when the European Central Bank disappointed investors with its latest stimulus package. A weaker euro helps stocks by making European exports cheaper relative to competing imports.

An outlier among European stocks was Electrolux ELUXb.ST, which sank over 13 percent after its deal to buy General Electric's GE.N appliance business fell through.

Europe's broad FTSEurofirst 300 index .FTEU3 added 0.45 percent to close at 1,464.4. The euro EUR= was last down 0.5 percent, at $1.0831.

U.S. Treasury debt prices rallied as investors consolidated positions in a week that is generally thin on economic data after last Friday’s stronger-than-expected U.S. November jobs report.

Benchmark 10-year Treasury notes US10YT=RR were last up 7/32 in price to yield 2.24 percent, from a yield of 2.28 percent late Friday.

Spot gold prices XAU= fell from a three-week high and were last down $13.50, or 1.2 percent, at $1,071 an ounce after the gains in the dollar.

Additional reporting by Tanya Agrawal and Richard Leong and Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss in New York; editing by Nick Zieminski and Bernadette Baum