The stock markets in the United States fluctuated and eventually ended the trading down except the Russell 2000. The Dow Jones declined 0.64%, the S&P 500 fell 0.80% and the NASDAQ slumped 1.2% today.

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The global equities including those in the emerging markets suffered a 1.8% decline after the U.S. oil benchmark skid below $54 per barrel earlier today. The stocks were also negatively impacted by the contraction of the manufacturing index in China in December.

In a telephone interview with Bloomberg, Jim Paulsen, chief investment strategist at Wells Capital Management said, “All the markets are incredibly volatile today from gold to Treasuries to junk bond spreads, stocks and currencies.”

Paulsen added, “If oil shows some signs of support, which we did today, you have a lot of people coming in behind it. If it breaks down, you have people getting out not wanting to catch a falling knife.”

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On the other hand, Jim Dunigan, chief investment officer at PNC Bank NA commented that investors are trading based on the headlines dominated by crude, credit and currencies. He emphasized that it is “not exactly the fundamentals to make good equity decisions.”

Dunigan added, “There continues to be a backdrop of the U.S. economy improving and we’ll probably see some confirmation from the Fed on that.” The Federal Reserve is scheduled to release its report about the economy and its monetary decisions tomorrow.

Economists estimated that the U.S. economy will grow at 2.9% next year, the fastest expansion rate in a decade. The housing market continues to recover at a slow rate as data showed that the new-home construction in the country was more than one million units in November.

U.S. Markets

  • Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) – 17,070.38 (-0.64%)
  • S&P 500- 1,973.75(-0.80%)
  • NASDAQ- 4,549.93 (+1.20%)
  • Russell 2000- 1,142.71 (+0.21%)

European Markets

  • EURO STOXX 50 Price EUR- 3,049.99. (+2.25%)
  • FTSE 100 Index- 6,331.83 (+2.41%)
  • Deutsche Borse AG German Stock Index DAX- 9,563.89 (+2.46%)

Asia-Pacific Markets

  • Nikkei 225- 16,755.32 (-2.01%)
  • Hong Kong Hang Seng Index- 22,670.50 (-1.55%)
  • Shanghai Shenzhen CSI 300 Index- 3,303.40 (+2.68%)

Stocks in Focus

The stock price of Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) dropped 1.37% to $106.75 per share after the iPhone maker suspended its online store sales in Russia amid the extreme Ruble fluctuation. The tech giant said it is currently reviewing its pricing in the country.

Nabors Industries Ltd. (NYSE:NBR) climbed 2.24% to $10.51 per share after the WTI crude rebounded to $55.95 per barrel, up by 0.07%. “We are starting to see a bottom here, and we are getting some value buying,” said Carl Larry an oil consultant at Frost & Sullivan.

The shares of Talisman Energy Inc. (USA) (NYSE:TLM) surged more than 48% to $7.58 per share driven by the report that Repsol SA (ADR) (OTCMKTS:REPYY) is close to striking an merger deal. Repsol is proposing to acquire Talisman for C$6 billion.

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