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World stock markets drift as oil falls, China exports rise

Global stock markets drifted Tuesday as oil extended its slide, falling below $45 a barrel, while better-than-expected Chinese trade figures countered recent gloom over the slowdown in the world's No. 2 economy.

KEEPING SCORE: In early European trading, France's CAC 40 was up 0.1 percent to 4,229.89 and Germany's DAX added 0.1 percent to 9,796.23. Britain's FTSE 100 edged up 0.1 percent to 6,501.90. U.S. stocks were poised to open higher. Dow futures climbed 0.2 percent to 17,600 and broader S&P 500 futures gained 0.2 percent to 2,025.70.

CHINA TRADE: Customs data showed that Chinese exports grew 9.7 percent in December over a year earlier, while imports shrank 2.4 percent. The results were better than analysts had forecast and may hint at the recovery in store for China's exporting industries as U.S. demand continues to recover. The news gave a bigger lift to stocks in Hong Kong than Shanghai, where there may be less room for the index to rise after a spectacular surge late last year.

ANALYST TAKE: "Although it stops slightly short of a return to the double digit growth rates seen earlier in 2014, today's data mean China's export sector remains one of the world's best performing," said Julian Evans-Pritchard of Capital Economics.

ENERGY: Oil prices approached six year lows a day after Goldman Sachs slashed its forecast for prices in 2015. U.S. crude was down $1.45 to $44.62 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract closed $2.29 lower to settle at $46.07 a barrel on Monday. Brent crude, used to price oil sold internationally, lost $1.62 to 47.08.

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