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Dec 8, 2014 11:14 AM

US stocks slip in morning as energy shares slump

The Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) U.S. stocks inched mostly lower in morning trading on Monday as a slide in crude oil prices to a five-year low pushed energy stocks down. Investors are also weighing weak Chinese trade figures and news that Japan's recession is deeper than initially thought.

KEEPING SCORE: The Dow Jones industrial average slipped seven points, or less than 0.1 percent, to 17,952 as of 11:07 a.m. Eastern. The Standard & Poor's 500 index fell less than one point, or less than 0.1 percent, to 2,075. The Nasdaq composite rose 12 points, or 0.3 percent, to 4,792.

OIL IMPACT: Energy shares slumped as the prospect of weaker growth in Asia helped push down oil prices. The benchmark New York rate was down $1.99, or 3 percent, at $63.85 a barrel. Meanwhile, Brent crude, which is used to price oil sold on international markets, dropped $2.32, or 3.4 percent, to $66.75. Both prices are at their lowest levels since 2009.

Chevron fell $3.53, or 3 percent, to $107.34.

BURGER BLUES: McDonald's said a key global sales figure fell 2.2 percent in November, as U.S. sales continued to fall and as the company fought to recover from a food-safety scandal in China. The stock fell $3.36, or 3.5 percent, to $92.95.

MERCK DEAL: Merck &Co. said it would pay $8.4 billion to buy Cubist Pharmaceuticals, a leader in developing drugs to fight so-called superbugs that have evolved to resist antibiotics. Cubist jumped $26.32, or 35 percent, to $100.68. Merck was barely changed, down 0.3 percent.

STUMBLE IN ASIA: In China, the world's No. 2 economy, exports growth slumped last month and imports unexpectedly contracted. But Chinese stocks jumped. Investors hope the weak figures will spur the government will dole out more stimulus.

In Japan, figures showed that the world's No. 3 economy shrank 1.9 percent in the July-September period.

ASIA'S DAY: Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 edged up 0.1 percent, South Korea's Kospi dipped 0.4 percent and Hong Kong's Hang Seng gained 0.2 percent. The Shanghai Composite in mainland China broke through 3,000, soaring 2.8 percent to 3,020.26, a level it hasn't closed at since April 2011. The index is up 25 percent in the past month.

ANALYST TAKE: "An implosion in Chinese trade data and a bigger-than-expected Japanese contraction in the third quarter demonstrate the constraints that Asia's two largest economies are putting on global growth," said Jasper Lawler, market analyst at CMC Markets.

EUROPE DROPS: In Europe, France's CAC 40 was down 0.7 percent while Germany's DAX fell 0.4 percent. The FTSE 100 index of leading British shares was 0.8 percent lower.

CURRENCIES and BONDS: The dollar was mixed. The euro was flat at $1.2290 while the dollar fell 0.5 percent to 120.89 yen. U.S. government bond prices rose slightly. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 2.29 percent.


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