Oil company shares rocked by plunging prices

GMT 19:42 2015 Thursday ,29 January

Arab Today, arab today Oil company shares rocked by plunging prices

London Stock Exchange
London - AFP

Shares in energy companies fell Thursday after they announced falling profits on tumbling oil prices, although European markets were broadly steady.
London's FTSE 100 index, home to energy majors Royal Dutch Shell and BP, slid 0.22 percent to end the day at 6,810.60 points.
Frankfurt's DAX 30 index added 0.25 percent to 10,737.87 points.
While official data showing German unemployment fell in January to the lowest level since the country was reunited in 1990, inflation turned negative for the first time in more than five years, dropping to 0.3 percent.
The CAC 40 in Paris rose 0.44 percent to 4,631.43 points, while Madrid climbed 0.48 percent and Milan moved up 0.56 percent.
The Greek stock market finished the day up almost 3.2 percent on Thursday and the country's four main banks rose nearly 13 percent, recovering some of their losses from the previous day.
The Athens stock market had plunged over 9 percent on Wednesday after Greece's new hard-left Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras scrapped key privatisation projects and pressed home his demand for a renegotiated deal on the country's multi-billion-euro bailout.
"Despite being spooked by Syriza's continued faith to their pre-election promises, the eurozone indices appear somewhat reassured by the country's discourse with the region's important financial figures," said analyst Connor Campbell at Spreadex trading firm.
Greek voters handed a decisive victory to radical left party Syriza at the weekend, putting the country on a collision course with its international creditors over its bailout and giving rise to fears that the country could exit the eurozone -- what is being dubbed a "Grexit".
The country's new finance minister, Yanis Varoufakis, will visit three European Union capitals next week to push the government's agenda for a renegotiated deal on its multi-billion-euro bailout, his office said.
On Thursday, the euro jumped to $1.1309 from $1.1284 late in New York on Wednesday.
- Oil slumps again -
New York oil prices tumbled close to six-year lows on Thursday, as record-high US crude inventories deepened worries over the global supply glut.
West Texas Intermediate (WTI) for March delivery dived to $43.57 a barrel, a level last seen on March 12, 2009.
The contract later stood at $43.87, down 58 cents from Wednesday's close.
European benchmark Brent North Sea crude for March meanwhile rose nine cents to stand at $48.56 a barrel in London late afternoon deals.
The low prices weighed on energy majors, with Shell down 4.3 percent to 2,060 pence and BP losing 1.9 percent to 424.85 pence. French oil giant Total gave up 1.4 percent to 44.91 euros.
"Given the headwinds being felt by major oil companies around the world, the share price performance since the beginning of last year while uninspiring has still outperformed the oil price," said Michael Hewson, chief market analyst at CMC Markets dealing group.
Anglo-Dutch giant Shell announced an eight-percent drop in annual net profit and said it would accelerate spending cuts.
Profit after tax was $15.05 billion (13.3 billion euros).
"Compared with the fourth quarter 2013, earnings... were impacted by the significant decline in (the price of) oil," Shell said in a statement.
Russia's gas giant Gazprom announced its third-quarter profits plunged 61 percent as supplies were suspended to Ukraine, one of its main customers.
And Austrian energy firm OMV said it would reduce by about one quarter its programme of investments in the medium term.
- Earnings boost Wall Street -
Wall Street fluctuated on a heavy day of corporate earnings reports.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.40 percent to 17,259.83 points.
But the broad-based S&P 500 slipped 0.03 percent to 2,001.56, and the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index shed 0.22 percent to 4,627.60.
Earnings from Colgate-Palmolive, Facebook and Ford Motor all topped expectations, although Chinese Internet shopping giant Alibaba reported weak sales and several other companies offered disappointing forecasts.
Asian stock markets mostly fell, largely on the back of declines in the United States on Wednesday, triggered by concerns over a strengthening dollar and falling oil prices.
Tokyo dropped 1.06 percent, while Hong Kong fell 1.07 percent, and Shanghai lost 1.31 percent.
Seoul declined 0.54 percent but Sydney bucked the trend to rise 0.30 percent.

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