NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Stock markets were gripped by volatile trading Monday after OPEC doubled-down on its commitment to current levels of oil production, triggering a fresh selloff in crude prices.
The S&P 500 moved off session lows, down 0.38% by early afternoon. The benchmark index traded below the 2,000 level for the first time since Oct. 30 after suffering its worst week in more than two years last week. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.34%, and the Nasdaq was down 0.8%.
Crude oil prices were falling again after secretary general of OPEC, Abdallah Salem el-Badri, said the oil cartel had not set a fixed oil-price target. Separately, United Arab Emirates oil minister Suhail Al-Mazrouei said the group would stick to production levels even if oil falls to $40 a barrel.
West Texas Intermediate crude was 3.3% lower to $55.89 a barrel. The International Energy Agency on Friday cut its forecast for oil demand in 2015 by 230,000 barrels a day to 900,000 barrels. It's the fifth time in six months the IEA has slashed its forecast.
"The much lower price environment for oil and other commodity prices will eventually cause equipment investment to slow in industries related to oil extraction, in our view," said Wells Fargo economists in a note. "However, we have maintained that [industrial] production would still hold up in the near term."
Industrial production in the U.S. in November rose 1.3%, its largest increase in nine months, compared to an estimated 0.7% increase. October data on industrial production was upwardly revised to 0.1%.