The stock markets in the United States continued its downward movement as the price of crude oil dropped to $55.56 per barrel, down by 3.81% today. The current price of crude oil is the lowest level since May 2009.

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Commenting on the current market situation, Phil Flynn, an analyst at Price Futures Group told CNBC, “You have these OPEC officials reiterating they are not going to cut production, so you are selling into the rallies.”

There is an increasing concern regarding the strength of the global economy given the slump of oil prices. Genet Peroni, a fund manager at Advisors Asset Management observed that the impatience among money managers is increasing given the fact that the returns of mutual funds is lowest in almost a decade compared with the market returns.

In a telephone interview with Bloomberg, Peroni said, “We’re moving into the final weeks of December and portfolio managers are acting much more quickly and abruptly than they would otherwise to preserve gains and shuffle portfolios,” They’re adjusting their energy weightings if they have some, and to some extent that’s adding to the downward pressure.”

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Last week, the global equities lost more than $1.8 trillion in value. The Chicago Board Options Exchange Volatility Index climbed 78%, the highest in four years.

Rick Fier, director of equity trading at Conifer Securities commented, “The pain is greater. There is no time left to make up underperformance.”

U.S. Markets

  • Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) – 17,180.58 (-0.58%)
  • S&P 500- 1,989.62 (-0.63%)
  • NASDAQ- 4,605.16 (-1.04%)
  • Russell 2000- 1,142.98 (-0.82%)

European Markets

  • EURO STOXX 50 Price EUR- 2,982.90 (-2.75%)
  • FTSE 100 Index- 6,182.72 (-1.87%)
  • Deutsche Borse AG German Stock Index DAX- 9,334.01 (-2.72%)

Asia-Pacific Markets

  • Nikkei 225- 17,099.40 (-1.57%)
  • Hong Kong Hang Seng Index- 23,027.85 (-0.95%)
  • Shanghai Shenzhen CSI 300 Index- 3,217.23 (+0.75%)

Stocks in Focus

The stock price of MicroFinancial Incorporated (NASDAQ:MFI) advanced nearly 23% to $10.19 per share after announcing its agreement to be acquired by MF Parent LP, an affiliate of funds managed by Fortress Investment Group LLC (NYSE:FIG) for $10.20 per share.

The shares of Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F) fell almost 5% to 414.28 per share after Deutsche Bank analyst Rod Lache downgraded his rating to Hold  with a 12-month price target of $16 per share. The analyst warned investors regarding the automaker’s outlook due to strengthening competition and increasing regulatory costs.

The shares of Cirrus Logic, Inc. (NASDAQ:CRUS) increased more than 21% to $22.96 per share after analysts at Barclays upgraded their rating to Overweight with a price target of $28 per share.

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