November 20, 2018 / 12:54 AM / 20 days ago

World stocks, oil plunge as global growth prospects dim

NEW YORK (Reuters) - World equity markets and oil prices tumbled on Tuesday as investors grew more worried about economic growth prospects, while the U.S. dollar rose on flight to safe-haven currencies.

Traders work on the floor at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York City, U.S., November 20, 2018. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

U.S. stocks slid further. Shares of consumer discretionary companies plunged after several retailers, including Target Corp and Kohl’s Corp, gave underwhelming quarterly results and earnings forecasts.

Shares of Apple Inc, dragged by softening demand for the iPhone, fell further after Goldman Sachs trimmed its price target for the stock for the second time in just over a week.

“It’s the market adjusting to an early 2019 that looks different from the months of 2018 in that there have been mounting concerns over global growth,” said Quincy Krosby, chief market strategist at Prudential Financial.

Oil prices dropped more than 6 percent to mirror the stock sell-off as fears about slowing global demand and a surge in U.S. production outweighed expected supply cuts by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).

Oil extended losses after U.S. President Donald Trump said the United States intends to remain a “steadfast partner” of Saudi Arabia even though “it could very well be” that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman knew about the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Heightened tensions between the two countries had raised concerns about possible supply disruptions.

U.S. crude futures slumped $3.77, or 6.59 percent, to settle at $53.43 a barrel. Brent crude futures settled $4.26 lower at $62.53 a barrel, down 6.38 percent.

U.S. crude has now fallen more than 30 percent from a near four-year peak in early October.

“When the stock market comes off 8 or 9 percent, it tends to conjure up images of a weak global economy and that feeds into expectations of weaker-than-expected oil demand,” said Jim Ritterbusch, president of Ritterbusch and Associates.

The dollar index, tracking the greenback against a basket of six major currencies, rose 0.7 percent. Other safe-haven currencies such as the yen and Swiss franc also gained.

Keeping with the flight to safe-haven assets, the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury yield also touched a seven-week low, though it later rose above that level.

The euro, by contrast, was down 0.72 percent to $1.1368, mirroring a sell-off in European stocks.

The pan-European STOXX 600 ended 1.1 percent lower as shares of technology companies lagged. Shares of automakers extended their decline following the arrest of Renault SA and Nissan Motor Co Ltd chairman Carlos Ghosn for alleged financial misconduct.

MSCI’s gauge of stocks across the globe shed 1.62 percent.

On Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 551.8 points, or 2.21 percent, to 24,465.64, the S&P 500 lost 48.84 points, or 1.82 percent, to 2,641.89 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 119.65 points, or 1.7 percent, to 6,908.82.

Benchmark 10-year notes last fell 1/32 in price to yield 3.0628 percent, from 3.059 percent late on Monday.

Reporting by April Joyner; Additional reporting by Devika Krishna Kumar, Abhinav Ramnarayan and Shinichi Saoshiro; Editing by Bernadette Baum and Chizu Nomiyama

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