World Stocks Down, Oil Up on Libya Unrest
LONDON -- The violence in Libya, which has effectively split the country into two, dominated markets again Thursday, sending stocks lower and oil prices even further above $100 a barrel.
With reports indicating an escalation in the violence in and around the capital city of Tripoli, now that large parts of the country are in the control of opposition groups, there are fears that longtime leader Moammar Gadhafi may be preparing for a final showdown.
The chaos has disrupted the North African country's oil output -- Libya produces about 1.6 million barrels of crude per day and has the biggest oil reserves in Africa -- and stoked worries that other bigger producers, such as Saudi Arabia, could face protests of their own. So far this year, the longtime leaders of Tunisia and Egypt have already had to quit following massive popular uprisings.
Unsurprisingly, oil prices have surged over the past week, hurting stocks.In London, Brent crude for April delivery was up another $2.88, or 2.6%, at $114.13, while the New York rate rose another 2% at over $100 a barrel. The New York contract has soared an astonishing 20% over the past week. "Clearly this spike in the price of oil, unless it is just temporary, could well have quite an unfavorable affect on the global recovery process," said David Buik, markets analyst at BGC Partners. Fears that the global recovery from recession may come to an abrupt halt amid sky-high oil prices have weighed on stock markets all week, especially at a time when inflationary pressures are mounting. Stagflation -- the combination of rising inflation and lower growth -- is hardly a condition investors were dreaming about as they chased a number of stock indices up to their highest levels since the summer of 2008. "Further price increases are likely to put a serious dent in the global economic recovery and could, in a worst case scenario, potentially kick-start double-dip recessions on both sides of the Atlantic," said Will Hedden, a sales trader at IG Index. In Europe, the FTSE 100 index of leading British shares was down 0.2% at 5,909 while Germany's DAX fell 1.1% to 7,117. The CAC-40 in Paris was 0.2% lower at 4,006.
Select the service that is right for you!COMPARE ALL SERVICES
Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.
- $2.5+ million portfolio
- Large-cap and dividend focus
- Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
- Weekly roundups
Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.
- Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
- Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
- A custom stock screener
- Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.
- Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
- Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
- Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.
- Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
- Intraday commentary & news
- Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.
- 100+ monthly options trading ideas
- Actionable options commentary & news
- Real-time trading community
- Options TV